March 22:The NDA government wants to make the Northeast a hub for trade with South East Asian countries but for that peace must prevail in the region, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today.
Addressing a ‘Sainik Sammelan’ on the occasion of 181st Raising Day of Assam Rifles here, Singh said for development of any region, connectivity is of utmost important as it enhances contacts that leads to more trade. “We want to make the Northeastern region as the hub of our trade with South East Asian countries. But for that peace must be prevailed,” he said. Singh said Assam Rifles, with its glorious past, has to play an important role in ensuring peace in the Northeast. “With increased connectivity, contacts will be enhanced and that will boost cross-border trade,” he said. The Home Minister said the kind of development that had to take place in the Northeast has not been happened even after almost seven decades of independence. “Our priority is fast-pace development of the Northeast,” he said. Singh said insurgency continued to plague the region while there have been Maoists activities in some pockets of the region. He said several forces have been trying to destabilise and weaken India through their nefarious deigns. “Our army, paramilitary forces and police are taking on such challenges. You (Assam Rifles) will have to defeat all destructive forces operating in the Northeast,” he said. Complimenting Assam Rifles for beginning the process for inducting a batch of 127 women in its rank, the Home Minister stressed the need for increasing the number of women in the force on the lines of other paramilitary forces of the country. Singh said insurgency was at its lowest now in the Northeast and there has been a 30 per cent decrease in violence. Level of violence was lowest last year in the Northeast in the last 18 years, he said. Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force in the country and it was set up in 1835 with Shillong as its headquarters.