“People from different states of India have different ways of greeting each other, but only Arunachalis greet each other with ‘Jai Hind’,” said union home minister Amit Shah in Itanagar on Thursday.

He was addressing a gathering during the 34th Statehood Day celebrations of Arunachal Pradesh.

Speaking about the strategic and cultural importance of the Northeast, Shah said, “India’s culture and heritage are incomplete and handicapped without the culture of different tribes of this region.”

“Before 2014, Northeast was integrated only on geographical and administrative terms with the rest of India,” Shah said.

“It was only after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister that the Northeast developed an emotional connect with the rest of India and there is no difference between the two now,” he reiterated.

Shah further added that every Indian believes that development of Northeast and its people is the prime responsibility of the entire country.

“Similarly, every citizen of the Northeast believes that the safety and security of the extensive border regions of the country is their responsibility,” Shah added.

The home minister further noted that such an emotional connect with the rest of India should have developed long ago.

“But Northeast was used only as an aid to form and bring down governments in the past,” he said.

“As soon as Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, the government took decisive steps for the development of this region, building it as an impregnable wall in ensuring the safety and security of the Nation and truly integrating its culture and tradition with that of the country,” he reiterated.

Shah further said that it was PM Modi who decided for the first time after independence that every fortnight a union minister would visit the Northeast and review the development works on the ground.

The home minister expressed pride that till now Arunachal Pradesh has witnessed over 200 visits by union ministers in the last 5 years, which includes over 30 visits by the Prime Minister himself.

Speaking about PM’s vision of connecting Northeast, especially Arunachal, with the country, the minister said, “The Centre is committed to safeguarding the fundamental rights, culture, heritage and traditions of all the 27 tribes and over 120 sub-tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.”

He also pointed out that after the removal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir a lot of rumour-mongering happened in Northeast that article 371 would also be removed.

“On this statehood day of Arunachal and Mizoram, I want to assure the people that Article 371 would not be removed from the northeast,” Shah asserted.

“Such rumours are only a ploy to drive a wedge between the Northeast and the rest of the country. We would not let such mischievous things succeed ever”, he added.

“Before Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, Northeast was identified with insurgency, extremism, separatism, blockades, corruption, ethnical tensions, drugs and arms trafficking,” Shah said.

“But now the region is famous in the whole world for its infrastructure development, connectivity, a boost to sports, Act East policy and organic farming,” he said.

“The bold steps taken by the government included the India-Bangladesh land boundary agreement, ending of the Manipur blockade, the solution to the Bru-Reang ethnic crisis to bring them to the mainstream; surrender of over 8 armed groups with 644 cadres in Assam and ending the Bodo issue by signing an agreement and giving a developmental package of over Rs. 1500 crores for the Bodo people,” Shah said.

“Such developments would bring lasting peace and development in Northeast under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi,” he added.

Talking about the steps taken by the government for the strengthening of national security, Shah cited the construction of ITBP border posts and headquarters, along with the construction of NDRF battalion headquarters, among others.

“Northeast would become ‘Samasya Mukt’ (free of all problems) by 2024. There would be no dispute, only a golden future for a developed Northeast,” Shah said.

“Arunachal, which is the Land of Rising Sun, would become the harbinger of growth for the entire region”, he added.

The home minister also inaugurated several projects and schemes for Arunachal Pradesh, including the launch of Arunachal Pradesh Industrial and Investment Policy 2020.

He also laid the foundation stone for Police Headquarters in Itanagar and construction of new apartments for MLAs and residential complexes for senior government officers in Chimpu worth over Rs 140 crores.

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