GUWAHATI, June 15 � The new Government at the Centre should lay stress on infrastructure development in the North Eastern region if it is interested in securing the international border with China. This was the observation made by noted security analyst and former GOC of the 4 Corps of the Army, Lt Gen (retd) DB Shekhatkar.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Lt Gen Shekhatkar pointed out that only increasing the strength of the Army in the North East would not help in securing the international border with China as infrastructure, including roads, railway network, air connectivity, waterways etc., would have to be improved to facilitate free movement of troops in case of need. An adequate number of helipads will have to be constructed all along the border with China, he added.
As the entire North Eastern region is surrounded by foreign countries, the Government of India must involve the Chief Ministers of the states of the region in developing foreign policies. Serious efforts should be made by the new Government to remove the feeling of alienation from the minds of the people of the North East. The youths of the North East must feel that their stakes in protecting the motherland is very high, he added.
Lt Gen Shekhatkar said that development of infrastructure would also give opportunities to the youths of the region to excel in their own states instead of going to other states of the country in search of jobs. He said that clubbing the states of the region in preparing development projects was not correct as the needs are state specific. Schemes should be prepared by the Centre accordingly. Similarly, efforts should be made to open border trade routes with the neighbouring countries. He said.
On militancy, Lt Gen Shekhatkar alleged that some politicians and mining mafia were deliberately kept militancy alive in the region and now militancy has become money making tool for some persons. �We have definite information that at one point of time, some Garo militants were involved even in smuggling out uranium ore to Bangladesh,� he added. The talks with the militants should have definite time frame as there is no point talking for years without any result.
On infiltration of foreigners, Lt Gen Shekhatkar said that if the new Government fails to take effective steps to deal with the problem of foreigners, a Bangladeshi national or someone supported only by the foreigners would become the Chief Minister of Assam in the next ten years.