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Prime Minister Narendra Modi says northeast India crucial for stronger ties with ASEAN

At the same event where Modi spoke, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced an investment of Rs 2,500 crore for Assam.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that the progress of northeastern India was “at the heart” of the country’s Act East policy, which focuses on strengthening ties with Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“We created the Act East policy and the Northeast is at the heart of it,” Modi said, according to ANI. “The Act East policy requires increased people-to-people contact, trade ties and other relations with countries on India’s east, particularly ASEAN countries.”

Modi was speaking at the inaugural session of Global Investors’ Summit – “Advantage Assam” in Guwahati. He said India’s growth would gain momentum only when there is an all-round development of the northeast, PTI reported.

Elections are due in three northeastern states in February.

Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay was present at the event, with several Union ministers, the chief ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, and ambassadors and high commissioners of 16 countries.

Reliance to pump money into Assam

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, who was also present at the event, announced an investment of Rs 2,500 crore for Assam in various sectors, including retail, petroleum, telecom, tourism and sports. He said these investments would create jobs for at least 80,000 people over the next three years.

He said Reliance would increase the number of its retail outlets to 40 from two currently, and the number of petrol depots to 165 from 27 now, The Hindu reported.

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Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

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Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

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This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.