Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday reviewed the situation and defence infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh with Chief Minister Pema Khandu and senior Army officials.Sitharaman is on a maiden visit to Arunachal Pradesh, large parts of which Beijing claims as part of south Tibet. She will be visiting the forward areas in the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh bordering Myanmar.Sitharaman is accompanied by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, Eastern Command Chief Lt. Gen. Abhay Krishna, General Officer Commanding of Gajraj Corps, Lt Gen Amarjeet Singh Bedi and General Officer Commanding of 3 Corps, Lt. Gen. Anil Chauhan.While reviewing the situation besides defence infrastructure, the Defence Minister promised that the Indian Air Force infrastructural facilities in the Advanced Landing Grounds shall be permitted for civilian use.She also assured that requisite funds will be released for conducting survey for laying the strategic railway line from Assam's Missamari to Tawang, the border with China.On the issue of strengthening strategic Balipara-Charduar-Tawang road, Sitharaman said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) would be given clear directions for fast tracking its upgradation and all necessary funds would be provided for maintenance as well.She informed Chief Minister Khandu that the system of functioning of BRO has been completely restructured with greater autonomy and delegation of powers for faster implementation.During the meeting, the Chief Minister impressed upon the need to expedite the operationalisation of the Brigade headquarters in Tirap district so as to deal with the problem of insurgency in the region.The Defence Minister assured Khandu that the brigade headquarter would be made operational by December 2018.
Describing the visit of Sitharaman to Arunachal as a "landmark and historic visit", Khandu raised the urgent need to establish a cantonment in the capital area of Itanagar, for which necessary land would be acquired.The Defence Minister assured the Chief Minister that this would be accorded high priority.Khandu also raised the issue of need for expansion of land for Tawang township and urged the Defence Minister to consider freeing up some idle land in the vicinity of the township. She directed the GOC-in-C, Eastern Command to look into this matter favourably and submit a report urgently after consulting the district administration and government officials.Detailed deliberations were held on a whole gamut of issues in relation to land matters and other important issues of Arunachal Pradesh with Ministry of Defence. The Defence Minister gave an in-principle approval for establishment of three Sainik Schools - one each in Tawang, Pasighat and Tirap-Changlang-Longding (TCL) belt.The proposal for establishment of an airport at Dirang was also discussed and the armed forces evinced a strong interest in the proposal. The Defence Minister stated that this proposal will be given due consideration.Earlier, Sitharaman called on Governor Brig. (Dr.) B.D. Mishra (Retd) at Raj Bhavan and discussed wide ranging defence issues, with special reference to Arunachal Pradesh.