Vijaynagar salient is located in the eastern frontier of the nation, colloquially called “East of the North East”. Approximately 2050 square kilometres of land is located near the Tri-junction of India, Myanmar and China, jutting inside the unstable Kachin State of Myanmar. The discovery of the salient dates back into the history during pre independence era. The region was then administered by North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) which was one of the political divisions in British India and existed as hitherto fore, as part of the Indian Republic till 1972, when Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh was established.
The first mention of the isolated salient appeared in the history in 1945 during WW II. During invasion by the Japanese Forces along India – China – Burma frontier, the Allied forces, while retreating from Fort Hertz (now Putao, Myanmar) accidentally took the route through ‘Chaukhan Pass’ and reached Miao after a treacherous foot journey of three weeks. The forces were rescued by Assam Rifles troops and were maintained by air drops during the period. The brave soldiers of the Assam Rifles who took part in the rescue operations were awarded by the Royal British Army.
In 1950s – 1960, during demarcation and delineation process of boundary between India and Myanmar, area ahead of Miao Bum was not known due to lack of cartographic details. Almost at the same time, Chinese tribals called Lishus or Yobins were reported to be making ingress into the uninhabited Indian Territory, especially in Vijaynagar. Their hunter parties in pursuit of musk deer, discovered the valley, cleared some patches of jungles and started settling down.
The reconnaissance attempts to identify land routes to the valley were made in February 1953 by the Assistant Political Officer of Tirap and in June 1960 by a column of 7 Assam Rifles. However, both these attempts were abandoned owing to extremely hostile weather conditions.
Prior to 1960, very little was known to the outside world about Vijaynagar. In a signal written by Mr C H Kahre, Deputy Advisor to Governor in December 1961, he expressed the concerns over immigration from Burma into our territory. He also mentioned the urgent requirement for construction of Dakota Air Strip and positioning of minimum one wing of Assam Rifles in the area. He urged the government for establishment of civil administration and introduction of as many volunteers as possible into the settlement.
Prior to Chinese aggression in 1962, requirement of Indian inhabitation in the area was necessitated by the Government of India. Consequently, in October 1961, Brig. (later Maj Gen) Ajit Singh Guraya, Inspector General, Assam Rifles, decided to lead an expedition to the Chaukan Pass himself. An expedition named SRIJITGA II was organised for reconnaissance of land routes to the Chaukan and Hukawng Passes.
The aim was to establish Indian Administration in the area by opening an Assam Rifles post at a suitable place, from where foreign intrusion into our territory could be checked. With steely resolve and herculean efforts, the Assam Rifles expedition under the leadership of Brig. Guraya achieved success. After concerted efforts for almost one year, platoon strength of 7 Assam Rifles was stationed in November 1961, which named the place as “Vijaynagar”.
Vijaynagar gets a distinct identity
Indian government subsequently colonised the remote but strategic location with 200 families of Assam Rifles ex-servicemen in four batches from 1963-64 and 1970-71. They were transported to Vijaynagar by Dakota aircraft and landed at Advance Landing Ground which was prepared by the troops of Assam Rifles. The ex-servicemen were given incentives in the form of cash, cattle, houses, land and free air transportation.
Vijaynagar salient has now grown to a total of 16 villages, primarily inhabited by Lishus and ex-servicemen of Assam Rifles with a population of up to 6000. Due to its geographical peculiarity, the settlement is completely dependent on its air link for transportation of men, material and supplies. Assam Rifles, in coordination with the Indian Air Force, provides air transportation for the population of Vijaynagar.
These air sorties endeavour to provide a link between the isolated salient and Upper Assam despite constraints of extremely unpredictable weather conditions. As there is no Public Distribution System presently functioning in Vijaynagar, Assam Rifles has been assisting local population to fulfil their requirements of essential goods and commodities, by ferrying them from the open market and supervising its sale through village authorities at market prices.
Since commencement of the settlement process, the force has helped establishing inhabitation in the salient by providing assistance in allotment of land, building houses and development of properties and continues to aid villagers in times of emergent need. The air-maintained Company Operating Base of Assam Rifles at Vijaynagar, provides a sense of security and normalcy in the border area in the absence of a police station or a police representative.
Assam Rifles has been providing medical assistance to the needy residents as part of its civic action programmes, which aim at instilling a sense of care and feeling to the citizens. The doctor of the Assam Rifles posted at Vijaynagar provides medical cover to the patients. Assam Rifles troops often give preference to the locals so that sick and needy residents could be flown to Dibrugarh in the Assam Rifles Air maintenance sortie.
To augment the communication infrastructure, Assam Rifles post has opened the services of it’s DSPT to the local public, as there is no other telecom connectivity in the region. Assam Rifles has constructed a Community Hall having a dish antenna and television for the local population to enable them to know and connect to the happenings with rest of the country.
Another milestone, to provide land connectivity to Vijaynagar was achieved recently through the concentrated efforts of the Assam Rifles in projecting the requirement of road connectivity in all government forums.
All houses have been lit up by Assam Rifles by distribution of state of the art solar lights. In the past few years, major projects have been undertaken by the Assam Rifles to connect this salient to the rest of the country.
Another milestone, to provide land connectivity to Vijaynagar was achieved recently through the concentrated efforts of the Assam Rifles in projecting the requirement of road connectivity in all government forums. It culminated into a successful survey by the Border Road Organisation in September 2019. The land connectivity is now expected to be resumed in a faster time frame.
Living up to the motto “Friends of the North East People”, Assam Rifles has retained its focus in positive frame to build future of local population at Vijaynagar and contribute towards socio-economic development of the society in general and towards nation building in particular.