Antony assures renovation of strategic helipads in Arunachal

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Itanagar Apr 06 (UNI) While assuring to renovate all strategically important helipads in Arunachal Pradesh, Defence Minister A K Antony today said that necessary Memorandum of Understandings(MoUs) would soon be signed between his ministry and the state government in this regard.

The Defence Minister, accompanied by Army Chief General Deepak Kumar and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, along with GOC Eastern Command and GOC 4 Corps Tezpur, arrived at Tawang this morning, from Tezpur, according to official sources.

On his maiden visit, the Union Minister was accorded a civic reception by State Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, along with MLAs Tsewang Dhondup and Rev T G Rimpoche, public leaders and district administration at Chongprong helipad.

Mr Khandu briefed the Union Minister on the various issues pertaining to the state like relaxation of prescribed physical criteria for recruitment of Arunachalees in Indian Army, marketing of local agricultural produce by farmers to the Indian Army establishment in Arunachal Pradesh, maintenance of porter or mule tracks and foot suspension bridges, establishment of Arunachal Pradesh Scouts, conducting Army recruitment rallies at regular intervals in the state for recruiting suitable candidates.

Besides, there were other issues ilke refueling facility for civilian helicopter at army base at Tawang, to which the union minister, while terming the request as genuine assured to initiate appropriate measures.

Mr Antony later attended the special Sainik Sammelan at 190 Mountain brigade and laid wreath at war memorial and paid homage to the brave martyrs of Indo-Sino war of 1962. Due to unavoidable circumstances, the minister had to shorten his trip and also cancelled his visit to Rupa in West Kameng district, the sources added.

Tawang, the Brigade headquarter near the India-China border, is just a distance away from Tibet, which is in turmoil following a crackdown by the Chinese army.

Although the army sources dubbed the defence minister's visit as a routine one, it assumed significance after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which was opposed by the Chinese authorities.

Even though China and India were maintaining peaceful situation to sort out the problems through regular Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) at Bumla, there were more than 40 ''intrusions'' by Chinese troops across the 206 km border between Sikkim and Tibet since January this year, sources informed.

''Chinese intrusions largely take place in Ladakh, Arunachal and other parts of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but now the transgressions across the border into Sikkim are also going up,'' a senior Army officer said.

In 2007, India recorded over 140 intrusions by Chinese troops across the 4,057 km LAC in all the three sectors - western (Ladakh), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal). This only strengthened Beijing's claim over disputed areas and ensuring India does not change its Tibet policy.

UNI UPB LL DB1902

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