Gangtok, May 20 (IANS) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired here on Saturday the first security review meeting with Chief Ministers of five states bordering China.
The Home Minister brought up the issue of connectivity in border areas and stressed the need to overcome these challenges.
Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti (Jammu and Kashmir), Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh), Trivendra Singh Rawat (Uttarakhand), Pawan Kumar Chamling (Sikkim) and Pema Khandu (Arunachal Pradesh) attended the meeting.
A Home Ministry official said the objective of the meeting was to strengthen coordination between the Ministry and the five states to improve overall border security.
The Minister is on a three-day visit to Sikkim from Friday.
Border infrastructure work undertaken by the Home Ministry, border area development programme, and coordination issues between the states and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police came up at the meeting.
The ITBP is responsible for the security of the 3,488 km India-China border in Jammu and Kashmir (1,597 km), Himachal Pradesh (200 km), Uttarakhand (345 km), Sikkim (220 km) and Arunachal Pradesh (1,126 km).
He said the Home Ministry, in the first stage, is building 27 roads near the border which will be completed by 2019-20. “Approval is being given for 48 other roads.”
Rajnath Singh also stressed the need to strengthen basic infrastructure in the border areas in view of “thinning population and migration” from the border.
The Minister also advocated development of model villages in border districts and asked the states to send more proposals to the central government in this regard.
“The Centre is focussing on consolidated development of model villages in border districts. Last year, funds were released for 41 such villages,” he said.
Rajnath Singh said the states should remove obstacles in border infrastructure development and that the problems pertaining to land acquisition and clearances need to be resolved.
He advised the Chief Ministers to send senior officers every six months to border areas in their respective states to review and implement the developmental work done in the villages.
Earlier in the day, the Home Minister visited Nathula Pass and an ITBP border post at Lachung, where he met troopers deployed on the Sino-Indian border.
He praised the ITBP personnel and asked them to be very vigilant while performing their border duties.