We will neither be afraid nor bow down…

ย  ย By Vijay Darda | 14-04-2023

We will neither be afraid nor bow down… Vibrant Village programme begins at Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh, close to Chinese border

Vijay Darda

In India’s internal politics, the government has always been accused of not being as strong in its response to China’s assertive policy as it is against Pakistan. No matter which party is in the government, the sentiment of the common man has more or less been the same. But last week, the Union home minister Amit Shah gave a fearless and unequivocal message to China from Kibithu, the last Indian village with a population of only 1,900 and located just 29 kilometres from the Chinese border in Arunachal Pradesh. This is not the India of 1962. No one can grab even an inch of our land.

Recently, China has changed the names of some more Arunachal cities on its map for the third time. When India stated that it was unacceptable, it once again gave rise to the allegation of being soft towards China. Amit Shah then arrived in Kibithu to launch the Vibrant Village initiative. Let me first tell you what the Vibrant Village programme is? The entire world is aware that in the name of development of villages, China has been preparing for war as a part of its strategy.

It has built a road network from Arunachal to Ladakh so that its soldiers could reach the border quickly. It also established new villages. Developing requisite facilities in our own border villages could have been the only answer to this. Therefore, the Centre approved a plan of 24,800 crore for this purpose. Of the total amount, 22,500 crore are exclusively for roads. Some 2,967 villages in 19 districts close to the border in Arunachal, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal and Ladakh are being developed into Vibrant Villages. Kibithu has become the first village to be developed under this scheme.

Now the question is why Kibithu was chosen in the first place. So let’s take a look at the history. In 1962, a fierce battle took place in this village between the Indian and Chinese forces. The example of bravery set by six officers of the Kumaon Regiment on October 21, 1962 was amazing. The Chinese had to retreat. In military history, this war is seen with great respect for the Indian Army. That is why, the Union home minister Amit Shah’s arrival in Kibithu to start the Vibrant Village programme is being considered a step taken to send a strong message to China. This village is around 600 kilometres from Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh. This is the last village in this area close to the Chinese border, but Amit Shah has sent a strong message to China by declaring that the Indian perspective has changed and it is now the first village, not the last. We have also sent a message about our changed perspective through the G20 meet. Despite strong protests from China, the G20 meet took place in Itanagar, with more than 50 delegates attending it. The G20 meet will now be held in Srinagar from May 22 to May 24. China may not even participate in the Srinagar meet, but the new India has stopped caring about it.

One important point which needs to be discussed here is that China occupied nearly half of present-day Arunachal Pradesh during the 1962 war. This area was known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) at the time. Arunachal Pradesh was recognised as a Union Territory in 1972, and became a full-fledged state in 1987. I was referring to the Chinese occupation during the 1962 conflict. It could have continued to hold onto the occupied land but why did it fall back? Actually, China understood that the people of Arunachal would never accept Chinese authority. There would have been a huge rebellion, so China thought it better to beat a hasty retreat! Why then does China claim Arunachal now? China is aware that India is currently focussing on its overall growth. India has made great strides right from economy, industry to infrastructure. It has become the world’s fifth economic power and is set to become the third economic power by 2040. It is well known that India has made significant progress in the discovery of uranium in Arunachars Shiomi district. This advancement frustrates China. That is why it continues to poke India in order to divert its attention. It sometimes changes the names of our cities and sometimes, it objects to our ministers’ and Prime Minister’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh for no apparent reason. It occasionally indulges in misadventure on the border, but

when our jawans thrash the Chinese soldiers, it refuses to even acknowledge it, let alone disclosing how many of its soldiers were killed. I’ve even heard that China is giving injections to its people to make them taller, but what difference would it make? Doesn’t China remember that when America gave Patton tanks to Pakistan to fight India, our soldiers simply turned them into toys?

Actually, Amit Shah has sent out a message loud and clear to China from the border that you may be a 100-kg wrestler but keep in mind that we are not a 10-kg wrestler. Bear in mind that even a 60-kg wrestler can beat a 100-kg wrestler! We do not underestimate the enemy, but it does not mean that you can browbeat us! In the 1962 war, we did not have uniforms for the sub-zero temperatures. Now we have 6-layer warm uniforms and our jawans stand firm in the Siachen Glacier throughout the year. No matter the circumstances, we will not be cowed down.

As an Indian citizen, personally I would like to tell China to give up its antics and follow the path of Lord Buddha, whom it has abandoned. We are walking in the footsteps of Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavir and Gandhiji. Our greatest assets are truth and non-violence. All religions are treated equally here. You’ve given up on religion altogether. People pray and worship secretly. We have democracy and democratic leaders. You’ve even silenced your own people! A rebellion is brewing in your home. How long will you stop people at gunpoint? If you plot to ruin others, the world will eventually cease buying your products. You will understand the ground reality then. We are well aware of your strength. Don’t be delusionary!

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