Nirmala Sitharaman to visit Siachen to spend some time with troops

It will be her first visit there and to Kashmir where the operational commanders will brief her about the situation on the Line of Control (LOC).
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (File | PTI)
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (File | PTI)

Country’s first full time woman defence minister has decided to spend some time with troops on Siachen glacier, the world’s highest battlefield.

It will be her first visit there and to Kashmir where the operational commanders will brief her about the situation on the Line of Control (LOC) with Pakistan and Line of Actual Control (LAC) facing China in Ladakh region.

According to official sources, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat will also be present during the minister’s visit to Kashmir. Sitharaman will also meet Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti during the two-day tour.

The Defence Minister, who took charge on September 3, had already expressed her desire to visit some forward locations in Kashmir and Ladakh,  but could not go due to her hectic schedule. She wanted to visit LoC to have her first hand report on the present security situation in the state as regards terrorism will also figure in presentations to her.  Commanders will also apprise the minister about the Army’s preparedness on the LOC as Pakistan Army continues to violate ceasefire in an effort to push in militants from across the LOC into Kashmir valley.

The ongoing projects to further strengthen infrastructure in Ladakh along the LAC to sustain troops will also be reviewed, officials said.  Chinese troops transgress into Indian territory there leading to face-offs and officers will explain to Sitharaman measures taken to deal with such incident.

Days after taking over reins of South Block, Sitharaman has been traveling to military installations including Sir Creek and country’s only underground air base in Uttarlai..

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