How could there be border talks without eliciting Arunachalees' views?

Itanagar, May 28 (ANI): Calling a spade a spade, former army chief General (retired) jjsingh1 has asked how border talks with the Chinese could take place without eliciting the views of the people of Arunachal Pradesh.

Singh, who demitted office after serving Arunachal Pradesh as Governor, was addressing a farewell function organised by the state government a day before leaving the state.

The state's who's who, including Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, his cabinet colleagues, State Assembly Speaker Wanglin Lowangdong, legislators, Rajya Sabha member and state Congress president Mukut Mithi, former chief minister Gegong Apang and top ranking officers were present on the occasion.

Without referring to Sino-India border row, which is yet to make any headway even after 15 rounds of talks between both countries, Singh said an effort should have been made to feel the pulse of Arunachalees who have suffered for no fault of theirs.

The former army chief, who as colonel with the 9 Maratha Light Infantry Regiment, had conducted the anti-insurgency 'Operation Harre' from Tezu to Khonsa in India-China-Myanmar tri-junction in 1981 that had won him a Vishist Seva Medal (VSM) and had narrow escape during his first travel to the state besides the horrifying experience of facing the ferocious Digaru River, known as Pagla (mad) River for its frequent change of course, was referring to the brief, but bloody 1962 war in which an unprepared Indian Army suffered reverses.

Mithi commented that many pass remarks on the sensitive border issue, like former defence minister George Fernandes denying Chinese intrusion in the Kayila Pass in 2000 despite conclusive evidence.

Some top ranking army brasses had also supported the minister without being aware of the ground realities.

"Nothing could be greater than the nation," the former chief minister said.

"In October 2000, a 47-member team of Arunachal Adventurers' Forum, led by its president Kumar Mihu, ventured into that sector in the Dibang Valley district with the help of Assam Rifles guarding the border. The team was shocked to find tall tale signs of Chinese beer bottles, cigarettes and eatable packets strewn all along the Indian border that had prompted Mukut Mithi to accuse China of intruding into Indian territory.

The story was flashed, but then defence minister George Fernandes air-dashed to Itanagar to deny the intrusion and announce that bilateral ties with China were improving.

Sadly, six months later, Fernandes had to admit in the Rajya Sabha that China had intruded 50 metres into Indian territory.

It is known that the mandarins of South Block, including their political bosses, do issue statements from time to time without any knowledge of ground realities when it comes to the northeastern states,and especially when it comes to the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The entire area from Keyala Pass to the inhabited Indian areas is about 150 km which means no one knows the status of those uninhabited areas. A section of Assam Rifles along with intelligence officials used to undertake patrolling for months at a time from the last Indian border post to the pass and vice versa.

"None can claim our 'Land of the Rising Sun'," Tuki, sitting beside him, quipped, and "Do you find any foreigner inhibiting this Indian state?'

It may be recalled here that monk-turned-politician Reverend T G Rinpoche, who represented the Lumla assembly constituency for three terms in Tawang district bordering China, had opined last year that India should be very cautious while dealing with China on the border row, as Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo had worked as the chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region for over a decade and had a thorough knowledge of the Sino-India border.

"The Indian side engaged in talks with China over the border row does not have anyone having a thorough knowledge of the border. On the one hand, China refuses to honour the 1940 Shimla Agreement between the British and Tibetan authorities on McMahon Line, and on the other, it claims 90,000 square kilometers of territory that stretches beyond Arunachal to the northern bank of the Brahmaputra in Assam on the ground that these areas were once taken over by soldiers of the 33rd King of Tibet Songtsen Gompa.

"Once Mongolian soldiers had conquered China, but on the basis of that historical fact, can China be called a part of Mongolia now," Rev Rinpoche asks?

Lok Sabha member Takam Sanjoy is the first Indian lawmaker, who just before the 15th round of talks between India and China at New Delhi in January 2012 had demanded a permanent representative from Arunachal Pradesh during Sino-India border talks, which was an endorsement of Rev Rinpoche's opinion.

Justifiably, the masses had crowned Singh with 'People's governor' honour, which he himself humbly accepted as highest among all awards and medals received by him so far.

Expressing gratitude on his behalf and on behalf of first lady Anupama Singh, to the state, its people, the state government, particularly three chief ministers (late Dorjee Khandu, Jarbom Gamlin and sitting incumbent Tuki) with whom he had seamless relations, he emotionally said, "Arunachal would always remain our home and we would come back to be part of the people's prosperity waiting in the wings to embrace."

"No governor has ever contributed so much for state's all-round development with commitment for which the Arunachalee had given him the honour 'People's governor'. You will always remain in our hearts by showing us a dream of a prosperous Arunachal and took conscientious steps to make the people part of the process to achieve it," Tuki said.

The first couple were given a tearful adieu by a host of dignitaries, including the chief minister, senior government officers, school children before his helicopter took off from the Raj Bhawan helipad on Monday.

Lt. Gen. Nirbhay Saharma, a highly decorated Army officer, who has been appointed the new governor, is scheduled take oath of office on May 29. By Pradeep Kumar(ANI)

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