Tawang: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that people living on the India-China border were strategic assets and their relations with the forces were strong and deep.
"I do not consider people living on Indo- Chinese border areas as ordinary citizens but as our strategic assets. I still remember when AN-32 aircraft had crashed, it is with the help of locals that we got information about the crash site," he said during his address at the 11th Maitree Diwas Celebrations at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
The minister expressed happiness at the cordial and brotherly relations between the armed forces and the civilian population.
"People here are patriotic and relations between civilians and forces are deep. Arunachal and the entire Northeast is important for India strategically," he said.
"The brave soldiers deployed here are staying away from their families. The friendship between forces and people give them a feeling of a bigger family. Serving the country is our goal and when goals are same, friendships occur naturally," he added.
According to a release from Defence Ministry, the government is planning to set up the Northeast Industrial Corridor that will create numerous job opportunities for the people of the region.
The Defence Minister said Arunachal Corridor will act as a land bridge between India and Southeast Asia that will provide employment opportunities and give a fillip to trade and tourism.
"Road to 'New India' runs through 'New Northeast India'," he said.
Singh also said that approval to construct a tunnel at Sela Pass to Tawang, operationalisation of Pasighat Airport, nod to set up Hollongi Airport near Itanagar and work to establish three strategic railway lines in the region were some of the decisions to improve connectivity in border areas.
Lauding the patriotism of people of the state, the minister said his ministry will see that Army Recruitment Centres are set up in some parts of Arunachal Pradesh including Tawang.
Singh was chief guest of the event 'Know Your Army', which was jointly inaugurated by Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command Lieutenant General Anil Chauhan.
In a tweet, Singh said he visited the Tawang War Memorial and offered his tributes to the fallen soldiers who made their supreme sacrifice during the War of 1962.
"Their sacrifices will never be forgotten."
"Delighted to attend the 'Maitree Diwas' celebrations at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh today. The people living in border areas are 'strategic asset' to our country. Maitree Diwas is the celebration of Civil-Army friendship which helps in strengthening India's strategic interests," he said in another tweet.