Incidents of natural disasters will not impact developmental efforts in NE: Eastern army commander

KOLKATA, 7 Jul (PTI): Lt General RP Kalita, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Army’s Eastern Command, on Thursday said incidents of natural disasters like the recent landslide episode in Manipur will not impact government efforts for welfare activities in the Northeast.

Kalita said the loss of lives in the landslide at a railway construction camp at Manipur’s Noney district following heavy rain was “very unfortunate,” but nature’s fury cannot be fought by anybody.

He also said the entire Northeast, which is part of the eastern command’s area of responsibility, has been lagging behind in infrastructure development compared to the rest of the country.

“Over the last 10 to 15 years, a lot of infrastructure development projects have been initiated a lot of those were completed as well in terms of connectivity by road and train,” he said.

These projects need to be supported by all agencies of the government, he added.

“But I don’t think such types of incidents (Manipur landslide) are going to have any impact on the government’s will to pursue the developmental activities, and the infrastructure development that is going to happen in the Northeast,” the eastern army commander said during a press conference, after inaugurating the ‘East Tech-2022’ defence exhibition at the Bishwa Bangla Mela Prangan here.

He said that the army is committed to support the government in all such efforts.

Kalita said the exhibition, which is touted as a ‘mini defence expo’, will focus on capability development that is required in the eastern command, particularly for troops deployed in the borders, as also those employed in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in the Northeast.

“It also aims at enhancement of operational capabilities and sustenance in difficult areas,” he said, adding that “this platform is an opportunity for the user to meet the provider.”

Noting that a lot of officers from field formations are attending the two-day exhibition, Kalita said the eastern command is looking at procurement of equipment that are urgently required for the troops on ground.

“The officers from the field formations are here to see the products which are on display, so that they can identify and match their requirement with the available product,” he said.

On West Bengal Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi seeking creation of a defence corridor passing through the state, during his inaugural address, Kalita said that such facilities will be welcome as “it will be easier for the eastern command to meet its requirements.”

He, however, said it is for the union government to take a call on such matters.

The two-day event, an initiative of the eastern army command in association with the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers and the Confederation of Indian Industry, is being attended by about 200 manufacturers and suppliers for the armed forces.

The armed forces have identified technologies required to be inducted in development of existing deployment and future capability, along with indigenous technology and involvement of the Indian defence industry, an official said.

He said that ‘East Tech-22’ is focused on providing tools for communication systems, information dominance, electronic warfare, artificial intelligence and robotics, and unmanned warfare systems. (PTI)