Leh: The armed forces would not let political turmoil in any other country affect India, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Thursday in a reference to the crisis in Afghanistan. He also assured that Ladhak Autonomous Hill Dev Council will get more power as per the aspirations of the people of the region.
In an apparent reference to China, Birla, who is on a three-day visit to Ladakh, said the expansionist approach of a few countries results in border disputes and asserted that India always propagates peace and works for strengthening democratic setup in other nations. The Lok Sabha speaker is on a week-long trip to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as part of the ‘parliamentary outreach programme for empowerment of panchayati raj institutions’. Birla said he is visiting both Ladhak and J&K to strengthen the panchayati raj system and democratic institutions.
Asked about recent political crisis in Afghanistan, Birla said India favours democratic system flourishing in all countries. “India has always propagated peace and worked for strengthening democracies across the world We have full faith in our armed forces that they wouldn’t let political turmoil in any other country (Afghanistan) affect India,” Birla said. On the recent tensions on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Birla said, Ladakh region is the land of Buddha who preached peace and harmony and that is what India also propagates. “Here from Leh, the land of Buddha, we only want to send the message of peace and harmony. India has always opposed cross-border terrorism and expansionism. But it is the expansionist approach of few countries which led to disputes at borders,” Birla said. He further said India is capable of safeguarding its borders and people.
Birla said in the current times, he hopes that all countries will come together and make an action plan to end militancy by strengthening the democratic system. Talking about Ladakh, Birla said the region should be developed according to the expectations of the people and its geographical location. The region has the potential to emerge as one of the most sought-after international tourist destination, Birla said, adding Ladakh’s infrastructure is being developed at a very fast pace. Regarding UT status, he while talking to reporters said that Ladhak region can’t be compared with other UTs’ since this is quite a different place but the government has announced different development proposals and many institutions are being established besides there is growth. To a question about the strengthening of Ladakh’s Hill Council, the speaker said that the Panchayat Raj act (rule) is being made and the government had stated that the Hill council will get more power and will be further strengthened so that people are facilitated more. “In times to come Hill council will be strengthened so that people are benefited and facilitated more by the native government”, he said.He further said that “I will hold deliberations with the people of this region and apprise the government about them.”
Birla is scheduled to visit far-flung areas of Ladakh including Pangaong Lake and Nubra Valley. He will also visit Pahalgaon and Srinagar and interact with panchayat leaders from all these places.