Source : Indo-Asian News Service (IANS)
|Indian Army honours Maj Ralengnao Khathing with bust at Yangste (Photo: Twitter – @GajrajCorps_IA)|
In a significant move, the Indian Army’s Gajraj Corps unveiled a bust of Major Ralengnao ‘Bob’ Khathing at Yangste in the Tawang Sector of Arunachal Pradesh on Friday. This is close to where a scuffle between Indian Army soldiers and personnel of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) occurred on December 9. According to a tweet by the Tezpur-based Gajraj or IV Corps under the Army’s Eastern Command, the bust was unveiled at an altitude of 16,000 feet by Corps commander Lt Gen DS Rana.
Few people know of Maj Khathing – India’s first diplomat from the tribal community. It was in 1950 that Maj Khathing, then in charge of the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), took over the Tawang region and the Bum La area and formally incorporated them with India. NEFA is what Arunachal Pradesh was called at that time.
“This may be a symbolic gesture but it has great significance. It will remind China that Arunachal Pradesh ceded with India by choice and not through the use of force. Hindi is the language spoken in Arunachal Pradesh and it is the second language taught in schools. Residents of the state are immensely patriotic and deny that the cultures or traditions of any of their tribes have any links to the country across the LAC. In fact, it is the only state in the northeastern part of India that has adopted Hindi as a means of communication,” a former diplomat based in Kolkata said.