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Don’t want war, but ready if it comes: Khandu

Itanagar: We are a peace loving country and do not want war in any circumstances. But if it comes, we are ready, said Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday.

The chief minister, who was addressing an event that followed the arrival of Swarnim Vijay Mashaal (Victory Flame) at Tawang, bordering Tibet, said India is not the old country that it used to be and the nation at present has one of the strongest armies in the globe. 

“We are not our old self anymore. We have a strong prime minister and one of the strongest armies in the world which is well equipped. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership the country’s defence has been given top priority and the country today is developing indigenous armories under the ‘Make in India’ policy,” Khandu said.

Khandu who earlier received the Swarnim Vijay Mashaal from GoC, 5 Mountain Division, Maj Gen Zubin A Minwalla said Arunachal Pradesh that shares international borders with three countries is proud to be a part of the celebrations and humbled to pay respects to the 1971 war heroes by hosting the Swarnim Vijay Mashaal.

“The victory flame lit by the Prime Minister has reignited the sense of unity across the country while remembering the sacrifices of our brave soldiers in the 1971 war,” he said.

Chief Minister Khandu receiving the Swarnim Vijay Mashaal from GoC, 5 Mountain Division, Maj Gen Zubin A Minwalla

The chief minister also paid rich tributes to Field Marshal Sham Maneckshaw under whose command the Indian armed forces registered victory within a span of two weeks.

“The 1971 Indo-Pak war witnessed one of the world’s largest victories in which at least 93000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered to the Indian forces. This is a tribute to the brave Indian soldiers who fought the war and those who sacrificed their lives,” he said.

Khandu also hailed the 1971 war for bringing together the three arms of the Indian armed forces – Air Force, the Army and Navy – in supreme coordination to achieve victory over enemy forces.

Further congratulating the Indian army, Khandu said Tawang has been lucky to have a long association with it. He urged all to maintain the cordial relationship and bonhomie between the forces and civilians.

“We may be a state with extreme diversities but when it comes to patriotism, Arunachalees cannot be questioned nor compared. Our people are with the Indian army whether in peace or in war,” he said.

The ‘Swarnim Vijay Mashaal’, or the ‘victory flame’ that symbolises India’s victory over Pakistan in 1971 reached Tawang on Monday travelling all the way from New Delhi last year. The celebration of 50 years of the victory – Swarnim Vijay Varsh- was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the National War Memorial in New Delhi on December 16, 2020.

Four victory flames lit from the eternal flame at National War Memorial are being carried throughout the cities and villages across the nation, including the villages of Param Vir Chakra (PVC) and MahaVir Chakra (MVC) awardees of 1971 war.

The victory flame has been sent to four cardinal directions of the country and will converge back at New Delhi in December 2021.

Tawang legislator Tsering Tashi, chief secretary Naresh Kumar and planning commissioner Prashant Lokhande also attended the ceremony.

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