Biggest threat to India from north of Himalayas: Himachal CM
Solang: The biggest danger to India's security can come from north of the Himalayas and the country needs to keep pace with the infrastructure being created by China on its side of the border, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said on Monday.
Speaking at a rally organised to mark the foundation stone laying of a tunnel under Rohtang pass, the chief minister said that he had visited the last Indian post on the border with China in Kaurik and had seen the preparations on the other side.
"The biggest danger (to country's security) can come from the north. Strong preparations are going on across the border. They are creating infrastructure," Dhumal said.
Dhumal said a rail line should be constructed to Leh and the government could extend the Pathankot section of the railways.
The chief minister said Himachal Pradesh had a proud heritage of its men serving in the armed forces and recruitment rules should be eased to facilitate their entry in larger numbers.
He said the country's first Param Vir Chakra (PVC) was won by an officer from Himachal Pradesh and two of the four PVCs given during the Kargil conflict went to soldiers from the state.
The chief minister also demanded extension of excise concessions to the state which were first given in 2003.
Earlier, Congress president and National Advisory Council chairperson Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone of 8.8 km long tunnel under Rohtang Pass which will enable year-round connectivity between Manali and the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
The tunnel will ensure all-weather road connectivity to Lahaul and Spiti valleys of the Himalayan state which remain cut off from the rest of the country during the harsh winter.
Expected to cost nearly Rs 1,500 crore (USD 325 million), the tunnel is slated to be completed in five years.