Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Friday 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 at Bum La, a pass on the Indo-Tibet border in Arunachal Pradesh, 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 and 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 recognise Arunachal Pradesh as a state of India but as a part of southern Tibet, a claim which has been rejected outright by India.
Speaking on the changes in the last six decades since 1962, the chief minister said the development of infrastructure along the border areas of the country has received a major thrust under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "The development of border areas, specially 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 at Bum La to pay tribute to Subedar Joginder Singh on his 58th death anniversary. He recalled the supreme sacrifice of Subedar Singh who laid down his life fighting the Chinese army in the 1962 India-China war.
Singh, who was a subedar of the 1st battalion of the Sikh Regiment, was commanding a platoon at Bum La in the then North East Frontier Agency, now Arunachal Pradesh. "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 soldier and created history in the annals of the Indian Army. Singh was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military gallantry award in 1962.
Kulwant Kaur, Subedar 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 Pradesh government just below the famous IB Ridge to commemorate Singh's heroic defence against the People's Liberation Army.