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Modi takes a dig at China, says Arunachal people greet with 'Jai Hind'

Press Trust of India/Itanagar 15 Feb 18 | 10:01 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi plants a sapling at Governor House, at Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh on Feb 15. Photo credit: PTI

Visiting Arunachal Pradesh under the shadow of protests by China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hailed the patriotic nature of the people of the border state, saying they greet each other with 'Jai Hind' and announced naming the New Delhi-Naharlagun Express as "Arunachal Express".

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Modi's second visit to Arunachal Pradesh was vehemently opposed by China which urged India to refrain from taking any action that may "complicate" the boundary question. It is his first visit to the frontier state after the Army's standoff with Chinese soldiers in Doklam plateau last year.

Modi, who earlier visited Arunachal Pradesh in February 2015, told a public rally here that he "cannot stay without meeting you all". China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet.

Clad in traditional tribal headgear, Modi dedicated the state civil secretariat building to the people, laid the foundation stone for the Academic Block of the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Science and inaugurated the Dorjee Khandu state convention centre.

"My visit to Arunachal Pradesh is related to three key projects in the state. The secretariat is already functional and this was a good step taken by the state government," he said at the rally at the Indira Gandhi Park here before leaving for Tripura to address election rallies.

The prime minister hailed the patriotic nature of the people of Arunachal, saying they greet each other with 'Jai Hind'.

Modi also announced that the New Delhi-Naharlagun Express would now be called "Arunachal Express". The train, he said, will connect the "people of the state with mainland India".

The frequency of the train, connecting the national capital to the state, would also be increased from one to two days a week.

Modi complimented Chief Minister Pema Khandu for the "wonderful work he is doing".

"He has prepared a top quality roadmap on how Arunachal Pradesh should be in 2027. And, he did not only ask officials for inputs but also people from all walks of life," he added.

On other issues, Modi accused the previous UPA regime of neglecting the North East and said his government has given priority to the region with ministers and senior officials regularly visiting it.

Seeking to highlight the significance of the region, he said important meetings should not only be held in the national capital but "we must go to all states. And that is why I came to Shillong for a Northeastern Council meeting. An important meeting related to agriculture was held in Sikkim."

Without naming Manmohan Singh, Modi said, the former prime minister could not visit the state on the pretext of workload, "But I am such a PM who cannot stay without meeting you all".

The prime minister said he would personally tell people to go to Arunachal Pradesh to hold important meetings at the convention centre.

"This is more than a building, it is a vibrant centre that will further the aspirations of Arunachal Pradesh. There will be conferences and cultural activities that will draw government officials and private companies," he said.

Modi said he has directed the state government not to wait for inauguration of any project but start utilising it after its completion.

Modi said the Centre is taking up the Ayushman Bharat Yojana on mission mode to provide quality and affordable health care to nearly 50 crore people across the country.

He said the scheme, billed as the world's largest government-funded health care programme, is a path-breaking initiative and would bring a "paradigm shift" in the health sector.

"The scale of this scheme is un-parallelled and it will bring a paradigm shift in our health sector. It is time to give India a health care system that makes quality treatment affordable within a limit of Rs 500,000 per family," he said.

Modi asked the state government to frame a new health policy and work to attract private investments in the sector.

Referring to the BJP-led NDA government's crusade against corruption, Modi said the government has been able to curb corruption through the direct bank transfer (DBT) scheme.

"The Centre has saved Rs 54 billion through Aadhaar-enabled direct benefit transfer of about 400 government schemes," he added.

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