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Rajnath bats for defence tourism, visits to historic battlefields

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has directed the officials to devise a plan to promote defence tourism and also sought suggestions about the visits to historic battlefields and its establishments.

Pointing out the willingness of people, especially the youth, to connect with the subjects related to defence, Singh urged the officials of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to devise a plan to promote defence tourism.

He suggested exploring the possibility of organising visits to historic battlefields, war memorials, war museums, training academies or other similar defence establishments for people with the help of industry, startups and ex-servicemen, keeping in mind the security and sanctity of the places.

"This will instill a feeling of patriotism among the people and generate revenue at the same time," said Singh during the inauguration of an user-friendly website created by the Border Road Organisation (BRO) aimed to facilitate e-booking of guided tours to the road infrastructure projects constructed by them.

Singh appreciated the efforts of the BRO in developing the portal and exuded confidence that the website will go a long way in boosting tourism in far-flung areas.

The website contains photo and video galleries of tourist destinations and local flora and fauna, besides providing information about the BRO, the nature of works it has executed in border states and the challenges faced.

It also hosts technical information related to the construction for those working in the field of civil engineering, especially students and academia.

Singh said, in the coming times, it will be the most accessible and reliable source of information about the history and importance of the projects executed by the BRO and will provide a peek into the upcoming projects as well.

He commended the BRO for playing an incomparable role in promoting tourism in these areas, saying that after the construction of Atal Tunnel, the number of tourists in that area increased six times.

He made special mention of the setting up of BRO Cafes at 75 places in the far-flung areas, expressing confidence that these cafes will provide basic amenities to the travellers, promote tourism in the remote areas and strengthen the local economy.

He also praised the BRO for constructing more than 60,000 kilometres of roads, 850 major bridges, 19 airstrips and four tunnels over the last six decades, thereby playing a vital role in nation building through infrastructure development in remote and inaccessible areas.

He stressed on the importance of connectivity and infrastructure in the development of the nation, saying that roads, bridges and tunnels in the border areas play a central role in ensuring their socio-economic development of the region, besides catering to the needs of the Armed Forces.

"Earlier, the infrastructure development in the border areas was never a priority, fearing its misuse by our adversaries during trying times," said Singh.

He said that their government totally changed this approach.

Infrastructure development of any region is linked with the development of the Nation as well as the global situation.

"With changing times, all areas move ahead in the path of development. We are committed to ensure the development of the border areas as well. The recent announcement of a record increase in the capital budget of the BRO reaffirms that commitment," Singh added..

He appreciated the fact that the far-flung areas are now witnessing reverse migration, wherein people who had left their villages in search of employment, education and better health facilities are returning, seeing the development in these areas.

He spoke about the Huri village of Arunachal Pradesh, the residents of which returned after the BRO ensured connectivity with the district headquarters.

"Atal tunnel and Umling La pass are the biggest achievements of the BRO which have put India on the world map. The BRO is striving towards realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat'," he added.

The defence minister emphasised that tourism and travel industry are one of the biggest job and wealth creators in the world and the government has taken a number of steps to promote tourism in the country. "Incredible India, Adopt a heritage - 'Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan', 'Swadesh Darshan', 'With love from North East', 'Dekho Apna Desh' and 'Udan', are some of the schemes that aim to ensure all-round development of the country. These efforts will ensure increased connectivity, strengthened security system, developed tourist destinations and creation of employment opportunities," he added.

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