Border no bar for people to people ties: Arunchal Governor

Itanagar, May 31 (ANI): The border is no bar for people to people to relations when living on the basis of a global village concept, Arunachal Pradesh Governor Lt. General (Retired) Nirbhay Sharma has said.

He further said that boundaries between nations are drawn on maps for political reasons, which shoud in no way be a hindrance to improving relations between the people of two countries.

"Strategically important Arunachal Pradesh, the eastern most state of India, surrounded by Bhutan, China and Myanmar, since the 1962 Chinese aggression had no eyeball-to-eyeball encounter with China except once in Sikkim in September 1965, which proves the well laid down agreement between India and China to maintain peace and security along the border," Sharma said in his first press conference as state governor at Raj Bhawan here Thursday.

Sharma, one of the most distinguished and decorated field commanders of the Indian Army, who took over as the Governor of this border state on May 29, tracked border areas as a battalion commander in Arunachal Pradesh in 1986-87.

He said that borders are immaterial and there should be no restriction in boosting trade and ties.

Indian and China share a 4,000-km-long border, including a 1,080 km-long border in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Sino-India and the 1962 bloody war though had strained bilateral ties and ended the traditional border trade between people of both countries, but both nations have held 50 rounds of high level negotiations since the 1980s to find an amicable solution to the border row.

"Dialogues are on and I'm confident an acceptable solution would be worked out calibrated suitable to peace and security,' he said with confidence.

When it was pointed out that India's Look East Policy (LEP) is yet to be implemented, when China has evolved Look West Policy as a counter, Governor Sharma disagreed, saying astronomical allocations were given by the Indian Government and massive development in infrastructure, health, education sectors were on to compensate the decades-log neglected north eastern region, a vital part of India.

Supporting the views of north east chief ministers, particularly Nabam Tuki (Arunachal) and Tarun Gogoi (Assam) for early reopening of the historic 1726-km-long Stillwell Road from Ledo in Assam to Kunming in China, he said the reopening of any road is always welcome in the public's interest.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in his first official visit aboard has sought better access to Bangladesh and Myanmar markets through infrastructure development in India's North East linking these countries with China and other countries in the South East Asian region, even as the two countries agreed to maintain peace on the border.

This clearly indicates China's expansion agenda, albeit through trade and infrastructure, against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's plea to balance out trade as the two countries aim for 100 billion dollars in bilateral trade by 2015.

On Naga peace talks, he advocated the think beyond border and to not consider as expansion of ethnic expansion. In all 563 princely states had merged to form India in 1947 and the states were formed on either linguistic line or geographical line. It is immaterial where one lives in Nagaland or Assam as long as we all are part of their great nation. It is the people or their governments have a vital role in the ongoing dialogue process to accommodate the aspiration all people to find a solution, he reasoned.

In fact, outgoing Governor J.J. Singh had urged the Government of India to find an early solution to the Naga imbroglio, as it had a direct bearing on ensuring peace in insurgency-infested Tirap, Changlang and Liongding districts.

He also called for a viable surrender package to motivate NSCN cadres and Maoists willing to join the national mainstream, who were well aware that their problem could be solved through dialogue with New Delhi.

Speaking about the wonderful, cheerful and hardworking Arunachalees, he said that so many things were happening and "wait and watch how things would take shape in coming days as I' would like to be a partner of peace and development of our state as the first servant of the people".

When pointed out drug was being smuggled in to the state from the infamous Golden Triangle with repeated seizures (99 kg charas in Changlang in 1988, 1kg opium seized in Tirpap in August 2012, 1 kg charas in Itanagar three years ago and 14 grm brown sugar at Itanagar on May 24), he said it was an area of concern would take all possible steps to address it.

On the feeling of insecurity among the masses, when journalists are attacked repeated even in the state capital and the Rina Tongam's attacker was yet to be nabbed even after 318 days, he said that investigation must be on and take up the issue. Journalists reflect the conscience of the people and must be ready to pay a price for it, he added. By Pradeep Kumar (ANI)

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