GUWAHATI: On her maiden visit to the Northeast as defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman Sunday reviewed the operational preparedness of the army and Indian Air Force (IAF) in the region, which shares its border with China, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The visit, termed as her familiarisation with all the formations of the army and IAF, comes close on the heels of her visit to Northern Command and Sikkim.
Earlier, the minister, who was accompanied by army vice chief Lt Gen Sarath Chand and GOC-in-C Eastern Command, Lt Gen Abhay Krishna, was received at the Tezpur Airforce Station in Assam by GOC 4 Corps, Lt Gen A S Bedi, and senior army and IAF officials.
"The defence minister extended her good wishes to the Air Warriors on the occasion of 85th Air Force Day as she interacted with them at the strategically-important Eastern airbase of Tezpur. She also reviewed the operational readiness of the airbase, seeing the Sukhoi fighter aircraft and other IAF assets at first hand," defence spokesperson Lt Col Sombit Ghosh said.
The strategically-located Tezpur Air Force station had received a fleet of Sukhoi-30 aircraft in 2009. This is the third Air Force Station in the country and the first in the Northeast to host them.
The military build-up in the region was to keep an eye on China.
The spokesperson said during a meeting at the 4 Corps headquarters, Sitharaman was briefed by Bedi on the overall security situation in Assam and the Kameng sector of Arunachal Pradesh and the operational preparedness of the 4 Corps.
"The defence minister subsequently visited the Solmara Military Station at Tezpur where she interacted with officers and jawans over a cup of tea. She appreciated the high standards of military discipline and preparedness of the army men and women and their excellent performance in the difficult terrain and challenging environment in which they are operating," Lt Col Ghosh added.