Modi’s Arunachal Pradesh deepens India’s nonchalance to Chinese red flags

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, November 17: Within a few days of a reluctant handshake with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali, Indonesia on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Arunachal Pradesh to inaugurate a slew of developmental projects, including a flagship airport in Itanagar. This will be Modi’s second visit to Arunachal Pradesh after becoming Prime Minister in 2014.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also visited Arunachal Pradesh in 2009 to address public meetings for the Assembly elections in the state. Singh’s visit had come in the backdrop of the media reports of the incursions by the People’s Liberation Army of China in Ladakh. While Modi will visit Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday, India will affirm that the state is an integral part of the country, and the Chinese objections hold no significance.

It may be recalled that China officially reacts to the high level visits of the Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing had even objected to the visit of Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh. China had also protested against the visit of Singh to the state in 2009. China had also reiterated objections in similar tone and tenor to Modi’s visit in 2018.

Visits of Singh and Modi to Arunachal Pradesh have similar backdrop – reports of Chinese incursions in Ladakh. China as part of ‘Salami Slicing’, as noted by security analysts, continue to slice parts of land of the neighbouring countries by pushing its PLA inside the territories of others and then holding out there with prolonged military commanders’ negotiations, which never move forward substantively, as they are essentially meant to kill time and force the change of the status quo on others.

Modi will inaugurate Donyi Polo Airport, Itanagar and dedicate 600 MW Kameng Hydro Power Station to the nation. Modi’s visit to Itanagar is aimed to boost connectivity in the North-East. “Prime Minister will inaugurate first greenfield airport in Arunachal Pradesh –  ‘Donyi Polo Airport, Itanagar’. The name of the airport reflects the traditions and rich cultural heritage of Arunachal Pradesh and its age-old indigenous reverence to the Sun (‘Donyi’) and the Moon (‘Polo’),” said the Prime Minister’s Office in an official statement.

The airport, which is the first greenfield airport in Arunachal Pradesh, has been developed in an area of over 690 acres, at a cost of more than Rs 640 crore. With a 2300 m runway, the airport is suitable for all weather day operations. The airport terminal is a modern building, which promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy and recycling of resources.

“The development of a new Airport in Itanagar will not only improve connectivity in the region but will also act as a catalyst for the growth of trade and tourism, thus providing a boost to the economic development of the region,” said the PMO, adding that Prime Minister will also dedicate 600 MW Kameng Hydro Power Station to the nation, which has been developed at a cost of more than Rs 8450 crore and in an area spread over more than 80 kilometres in West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh, which will make the state power surplus.

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