Arunachal Pradesh has traversed a long journey from the days of North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) to being a union territory and now completing three decades of existence as a state of the Indian Union, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said on Tuesday.However, he said for reasons of history, the tribesmen have remained deprived of the fruits of development."The challenges of geography have further aggravated the problems. People living in remote rural areas have braved adverse weather conditions and have shown remarkable resilience," he said after unfurling the tri-colour and taking the salute at the Independence Day parade here.He noted that Arunachal Pradesh has shared a special relationship with the armed forces, who have stood by us in times of adversity and times of prosperity."We have also seen armed aggression from across the borders and our land has been witness to an armed conflict between nations in which hundreds of brave soldiers laid down their lives," the Chief Minister said.China and India fought a brief war in 1962 when the Chinese entered Arunachal Pradesh and unilaterally declared a ceasefire after withdrawing to the McMahon Line."Each time we have reached out to them for support, they (armed forces) have gone beyond the call of duty to help us," Khandu said, as he paid homage to the brave Indian Air Force pilots and their support staff who died while evacuating people trapped in zones of landslides and floods.
Highlighting the achievements and priorities of his government to bring about sustainable development in the state, the Chief Minister said that development mantra can be fully implemented only when there is universal peace and harmony in the state."We will have zero tolerance towards disruptive and divisive forces and called upon the people to participate in the growth of the state," he said.Later, the Chief Minister inaugurated the exhibition stalls and launched the Government of Arunachal Pradesh State Portal.He also posthumously awarded Arunachal Ratna (Gold Medal) to Havildar Hangpan Dada, who was killed near in Jammu and Kashmir in May last year while fighting terrorists for his distinguished services to the nation.The Arunachal Ratna award carries a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh, a gold medal and a Roll of Honour.Khandu also announced 23 gold medals, 28 silver medals and 23 commendation certificates to persons with meritorious services.