‘Can’t ignore Chinese threat to N India, Himachal’

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    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/-Can-t-ignore-Chinese-threat-to-N-India--Himachal-/727827

    Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Tuesday raised an alarm over the UPA government’s “lack of concern” in upgrading and expanding rail, road and air infrastructure in his state — strategically important since it abuts China. He pointed out that India cannot ignore Beijing’s threat to northern India and its aggressive infrastructure development on its border areas.Painting an alarming picture, Dhumal, who completes three years in office this month, said the government is also ignoring the fact that China is making its presence in India’s neighbouring countries. “China is surrounding us from all around. Whether it is Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indian Ocean side or Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. China may not have to fight a war now. It will be in such a commanding position,” he said. In an interview to The Indian Express, Dhumal spoke about his repeated pleas to the Centre to build a railway line from Bhanupali in Punjab to Leh via Manali. “I have been raising the issue of Chinese threat to northern India. I have written several letters to the PM and Railway Minister. China has already laid a rail line to Lhasa. Some more are under construction. A number of air strips and road connectivity till the border are coming up.”The defence forces, Dhumal said, now have to airlift equipment, including tanks, from Chandigarh to Leh. “A rail link is very important. I don’t understand the lack of concern for national security on the part of the UPA government. We may have to pay the price for this. I am again urging the government to be aware of the dangers.” Dhumal said the belief that India is safe with the Himalayas in the north and the Indian Ocean in the south does not hold water anymore. Dhumal, who is gearing up for local body elections in the state, renewed his pitch for raising a regiment exclusively for youth from border states. “I even suggested that it may be named as the Himalayan regiment. But there is no response from the government.” He said the Centre had not paid a “penny” to Himachal for raising three battalions of the India Reserve Battalion. Dhumal broached the issue with Home Minister P Chidambaram during a meeting with him on Tuesday. He said lack of rail, road and air connectivity is hampering tourism potential in the state.
     
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