Major military threat from China, need Himalyan Regiment

New Delhi: Citing a "major military threat" from China, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today asked the Centre to set up a Himalayan Regiment in the army which should be capable of fighting in difficult hilly terrains. Speaking at the National Development Council (NDC) meeting here, Dhumal said "India faces a major military threat from neighboring China and the Indian Army should be made fully capable of fighting in the tough terrain hilly regions.

"And with this objective a separate army regiment drawn from youths of hilly areas should be set up in the army so as its soldiers are well conversant with tough geography and topography of the region and are also prepared mentally and physically to encounter the enemy in this region", Dhumal said.

He requested the central government to make suitable provision for setting up the Himlayan Regiment in the 12th Plan. "The concept of planning has historically focussed on centralised allocation of financial resources to steer the economy in the directions as outlined by the Centre, through the mechanism of centrally-sponsored schemes…", he said.

Noting that while the control over resources rests with the Centre, the major service delivery responsibility remains with the state, he said this "mismatch" needs to be addressed by more financial devolution to states. Pleading for higher allocations for education and health sectors in the 12th Plan, he said Congress-led UPA-II`s promised allocation of 6 per cent and 3 per cent of GDP during the 2009 elections remains unfulfilled.

He asked the Centre to formulate a land use policy and also demanded that the draft should clearly mention that all scarce natural resources should be brought and sold through auction only. Alleging that allocation to agriculture sector is half hearted while the agriculture development is still a patch work, he said HP`s plan allocation for agriculture and allied sector ranges from 11-12 per cent which is high in comparison to other states.

He asked the Centre to set up all-weather international airport in the state during the 12th plan

for development of sustainable and inclusive tourism growth and also pleaded for development

of roads, water supply, sewerage and solid waste management to meet the needs of visiting

tourists.