Rajnath to chair first CMs’ meeting on India-China border issues

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will chair a first security review meeting on May 20 with Chief Ministers of five Himalayan states on the India-China border during his three-day visit to Sikkim, an official said on Thursday.

Mehbooba Mufti, Virbhadra Singh, Trivendra Singh Rawat, Pawan Kumar Chamling, and Pema Khandu, who are Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh respectively will attend.

“The meeting organised by the Home Ministry will be held on Saturday in Gangtok,” a Ministry official said. The Home Minister will leave Delhi for the Sikkim visit on Friday.

The objective is to strengthen coordination of the Ministry with these five states so as to improve overall border security, he said.

The official said that border infrastructure work undertaken by the Home Ministry, border area development programme and coordination issues between the states and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) will also be discussed in the meeting.

The ITBP is responsible for the security of 3,488 km-long India-China border in Jammu and Kashmir (1,597 km), Himachal Pradesh (200 km), Uttarakhand (345 km), Sikkim (220 km), and Arunachal Pradesh (1,126 km).

The Home Ministry’s move comes days after India refused to participate in China’s One Belt, One Road conference in Beijing and a month after the diplomatic tussle over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

During his three-day visit to Sikkim, the Minister will also visit Nathula Pass and ITBP border post at Lachung to meet the troopers deputed on the India-China border.

Rajnath Singh will also visit the Sashastra Seema Bal battallion headquarters at Geyzing and Yuksam, besides flying over the border guarding force’s border posts at Uttarey, Kumukh and Bajrajadhara on the India-Nepal Border on May 21.

He will also interact with troopers at a Sainik Sammelan at Geyzing before attending a civic action programme at Pelling in Sikkim.