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rajnath singh: All political parties united when it comes to national security: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

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SAMBA: Underscoring the need for civil-military fusion, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said all political parties are united when it comes to safeguarding the nation. He said the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to development of border areas as he lauded Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for completing major infrastructure projects over the past couple of years.

“The BRO is a glaring example of civil-military fusion and its role in the development of infrastructure along the borders will be written in golden words.

“The civil-military fusion is the need of the hour as safeguarding the country is not the responsibility of our armed forces alone but the civilians as well,” the defence minister said, addressing a function here.

He inaugurated a total of 90 infrastructure projects, completed by the BRO at a cost of Rs 2,941 crore. The projects include 22 roads, 63 bridges, one tunnel, two airstrips and two helipads spread across 10 border states and Union Territories of northern and the northeastern region.

He quoted from Hindu religious texts and said, “We have to work together to safeguard our borders.”

“It is heartening to say that we are getting full support from all to secure our borders… the projects which were completed are spread across states and UTs where different political parties are holding the power. “I want to congratulate everyone for the completion of these vital border projects. The strength of India is that when there is a challenge to our national security or a threat to Bharat Mata (mother India), all political parties set aside their ideological differences and come together to face the adversary,” the defence minister said. He said with today’s inauguration of 90 projects, a record 295 infrastructure projects of the BRO have been dedicated to the nation since 2021. In 2022, 103 projects worth Rs 2,900 crore were inaugurated while in 2021, 102 projects at a cost of over Rs 2,200 crore were dedicated to the nation.

“In the past 900 days, the BRO completed one project every third day which demonstrates its dedication and hardwork as well as the commitment of the government under the leadership of the Prime Minister,” he said.

Describing the BRO as a “bro (brother)” of the armed forces, he said through its infrastructure projects, the agency is not only securing India’s borders, but also playing a key role in the socioeconomic development of far-flung areas.

“Together with BRO, we are ensuring that the nation is secure and border areas are developed. Timely completion of infrastructure projects in far-flung areas has now become the new normal of New India,” he said.

The defence minister also referred to the ISRO’s successful Chandrayaan-3 mission to the moon and said hoisting of the Indian flag by lander Vikram on ‘Shiv Shakti Point’ exhibits the power of the nation.

“There was a time when ISRO was not even able to launch a satellite and we had to request other countries for the launch of our satellites,” he said.

He said with ISRO attaining the expertise, the situation has completely changed and “today not only the Moon and the Mars, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is reaching out to the Sun (referring to the country’s solar mission). It has launched 400 satellites from various countries.”

The defence minister also virtually laid the foundation stone of Nyoma Airfield in Eastern Ladakh and said this airfield, to be developed at a cost of Rs 200 crore, will boost the air infrastructure in Ladakh and augment IAF’s capability along the Northern border.

He exuded confidence that this airfield, which will be one of the world’s highest, would prove to be a game-changer for the armed forces.

He also expressed hope the BRO will soon set another unique record with the construction of Shinkun La Tunnel, the world’s highest at an altitude of 15,855 feet.

“The tunnel will connect Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal to the Zanskar Valley in Ladakh and provide all-weather connectivity,” he said, commending the BRO for developing infrastructure in border areas and making an invaluable contribution to the security of the nation.

He emphasised infrastructure development in border areas is not only necessary for national security, but also promotes connectivity with neighbouring countries that function with a spirit of cooperation with India.

He pointed out the BRO has constructed infrastructure projects in several countries such as Myanmar and Bhutan and helped in strengthening peace and cooperation with them.

Singh also called upon the BRO to involve local bodies and the people by understanding their needs and taking inputs for the projects in border areas.

“Your job is not only to connect one place with another. It is also to connect the hearts of the people with your actions. The constructions should represent the spirit of ‘for the people, of the people and by the people’,” he said.

The defence minister lauded the BRO for being conscious about its responsibilities towards environment while executing their projects.

“Till now, we have worked with the mantra of ‘minimum investment, maximum value’. Now, we need to move forward with the mantra of ‘minimum environment degradation, maximum national security, maximum welfare’,” he said.

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