Times now different from 1962, says Khandu

ITANAGAR, Oct 24: Chief Minister Pema Khandu has said the times now are different from 1962 and the people of the state and the Indian Army will never fall back no matter how many times China tries to claim the territory as its own.

Khandu was speaking at a programme on Friday in Bumla, a pass on the Indo-Tibet border in the state, to honour a soldier who died fighting in the 1962 India-China war.

“This is not 1962, but 2020, and things are different now. Right from Jammu & Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, we are fully prepared. If required, the people of Arunachal will not hesitate to stand behind the Indian Army,” he said.

China does not recognize Arunachal as an Indian state but as a part of southern Tibet, a claim that has been rejected outright by India.

Speaking on the changes in the last six decades since 1962, the chief minister said infrastructure development along the border areas has received a major thrust under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The development of border areas, especially roads, is important. It is being done in full speed in Arunachal Pradesh and we will soon witness several such infrastructural revamps in the state,” he said.

Khandu was in Bumla to pay tribute to Subedar Joginder Singh on his 58th death anniversary. He recalled the supreme sacrifice of Singh, who laid down his life fighting the Chinese army in the 1962 Sino-India war.

Singh, who was a subedar in the 1st battalion of the Sikh Regiment, was commanding a platoon at Bumla in the then North East Frontier Agency, now Arunachal.

“Fighting against all odds, Subedar Singh attained martyrdom on this day during the 1962 India-China war. The people of Arunachal salute his bravery and will always remember the supreme sacrifice he made for the nation,” Khandu said.

Though heavily outnumbered, Singh had led his troops against a Chinese assault and defended his post until he was wounded and captured. He died of his injuries while in Chinese custody and is believed to have single-handedly killed several Chinese soldiers and created history in the annals of the Indian Army.

He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the highest military gallantry award of the country, in 1962.

Kulwant Kaur, Singh’s daughter, inaugurated a newly-built war memorial in her father’s name at the programme.

The memorial has been built by the Arunachal government just below the famous IB Ridge to commemorate Singh’s heroic defence against the People’s Liberation Army of China. (PTI)