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The Government of Arunachal Pradesh will build a memorial to honour the contributions of Major Ralengnao "Bob" Khathing, a Tangkhul Naga from Manipur, for formally bringing Tawang under India’s administrative control in 1951.
Khathing (1912–1990), was an Indian soldier, civil servant and diplomat, and the first person of tribal origin to serve as an Ambassador for India.
The Government of India honoured him in 1957, with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest Indian civilian award for his services to the nation.
Government sources, on Friday, stated that they will lay the foundation stone of the memorial on February 14, the day when Khathing hoisted the Indian flag in Tawang back in 1951.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu will lay the foundation stone in the presence of Governor Brig B.D Mishra, Union Minister of State Sports and Youth Affairs Kiren Rijiju, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat.
The memorial will highlight Khathing’s life and also showcase the traditions of the Monpa tribe.
Khathing, popularly known as Bob, is relatively an unknown figure in most parts of India. However, the people of Tawang still remember him for establishing Indian control over the area when China attempted to capture the territory.
Despite having an eventful career, most people in Arunachal believe that Maj. Khathing did not get his due recognition for his military, diplomatic skills and nation-building efforts.
(Edited by Shankar Kumar Turha)