Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reviews operational preparedness of troops at LoC on her maiden J-K visit

The minister asked the army men and officials to remain alert to foil all nefarious designs of the enemy, including pushing of militants into Jammu and Kashmir to create disturbances.

Published: 29th September 2017 08:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th September 2017 08:25 AM   |  A+A-

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reaches Srinagar, and is received by Northern Army Commander and the Chinar Corps Commander at the Old Airfield. | ANI

Express News Service

SRINAGAR:  Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who arrived on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Friday to review the security of the border state, visited forward areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir to review the operational preparedness of the troops. Sitharaman arrived here in the morning on her first visit to the state after taking over a defence minister. Her visit coincided with the first anniversary of the army’s surgical strikes on militant launch pads across the LoC.

The minister accompanied by army chief general Bipin Rawat was received by Northern Army commander lieutenant general D Anbu and GoC of Srinagar- based 15 Corps lieutenant general JS Sandhu. “After landing in Srinagar, the defence minister visited the forward areas along LoC in north Kashmir to review operational preparedness of the troops,” defence sources said. At the forward areas, she interacted with the army personnel and officials.

“She was briefed about the robust counter infiltration posture along the LoC. She was also briefed about the infiltration attempts foiled by the army men at the LoC this year. She was told that a top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Qayoom Najar could not infiltrate into the Valley in Uri sector and was killed there,” sources said.

The minister, they said, asked the army men and officials to remain alert to foil all nefarious designs of the enemy, including pushing of militants into J&K to create disturbances. Later, Sitharaman was briefed by Anbu and Sandhu at Badamibagh Cantonment in Srinagar about the prevailing security situation in the state, especially in the Valley. “She was given an overview by army officials about the counter infiltration and counter militancy operations undertaken by security forces.

She was told that militancy in south Kashmir has come down and many top militant commanders have been killed by security forces this year,” defence sources said. South Kashmir was the epicentre of unrest in the Valley last year following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. It had emerged as a stronghold of militants but after security forces launched “Operation All Out” against the militants, their activities in the region comprising four districts have come down.

“The defence minister complimented the commanders for the high level of synergy achieved with the J&K police and central paramilitary forces,” he said. Later in the evening, the defence minister called on Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra. “The governor and Sitharaman discussed issues on effective management of internal and external security, the ongoing anti-militant operations, and attacks on security forces,” an official spokesperson said. The minister would fly to Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield, Saturday.

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