On her first visit as Defence Minister to Jammu and Kashmir, Nirmala Sitharaman arrived here on Friday on a two-day visit to review the security situation along the borders and in the hinterland.
Ms Sitharaman was received by Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Devraj Anbu and Chinar Corps Commander J S Sandhu at the Technical Airfield in Srinagar.
Ms Sitharaman, accompanied by Army chief General Bipin Rawat, straightaway went to the frontier district of Kupwara and assessed the situation on the ground along the Line of Control (LoC), reports said.
They said at the forward posts she was told about the measures taken to prevent infiltration from Pakistan- administered Kashmir (PaK) by the field commanders.
‘Ms Sitharaman also interacted with troops at the forward posts in north Kashmir,’ they added. The Defence Minister was also given a detailed brief about the overall security situation in the Valley and on the borders. The Defence Minister will also visit Siachen, world’s highest battlefield, today. The Siachen leg of the visit would depend on the weather conditions, they added.
She was informed about the anti-infiltration grid already in operation along the LoC.
Later in the day, the Defence Minister held hour long discussions with Governor N.N. Vohra at the Raj Bhavan here. Accompanied by Chief of Army Staff, Genl. Bipin Rawat, she was received by the Governor on her arrival at the Raj Bhavan.
Governor and Ms. Sitharaman discussed several important inter-related issues concerning effective management of internal and external security, particularly in the context of increasing attempts at infiltration, the ongoing anti-terrorist operations, and sustained terrorist attacks on Security Forces personnel in the Valley.
Among the various matters discussed with the Raksha Mantri, Governor stressed the crucial need for urgent enlargement of BRO and very significant strengthening of its resources for ensuring the maintenance of vital road networks and strategic connectivities in J&K, particularly in the Ladakh region. Governor also sought Ms. Sitharaman’s personal intervention for the return of certain pockets of land to the State Government which were no longer required for military purposes, about which he had earlier held meetings with former Army Chief and Raksha Mantri.
Governor informed Raksha Mantri that despite the increasing activities along the IB and LoC the officers and men of the Northern Army, particularly of the Chinar Corps, had been discharging their duties with exceptional devotion, under very difficult circumstances. He also lauded the Northern Army’s working in total coordination with the Civil Administration, State Police and Central Armed Forces.