Defence Minister visits Siachen, inaugurates bridge at Leh 

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday visited the Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest and coldest battlefield. She also visited some other forward posts in the Ladakh region to review the security situation.

“During her visit she was accompanied by the Chief of the Army Staff General Bipan Rawat, General Officer Commander-in-Chief, Northern Command Lieutenant General Devraj Anbu and Corps Commander of the Ladakh Corps. 

“The minister interacted with the soldiers in the remote areas of Siachen Glacier and conveyed her best wishes on the auspicious occasion of Dussehra,” a Defence Ministry statement said. 

Sitharaman also inaugurated a bridge on river Shyok on the road between Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldi. 

“During her visit to Leh, she interacted with Indian Air Force personnel,” the statement added.

While inaugurating the ‘Pratham-Shyok’ bridge in Leh which will connect the region to Karakoram in north eastern Ladakh thus providing vital connectivity on the axis of Road Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Olde (D-S-DBO) for military transport, she termed the construction of the bridge as a miracle.

While addressing  Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officers and jawans the defence minister after the inauguration of the bridge said that construction bridges and roads at such high-altitude terrain is a miracle.

“Constructing roads and bridges in such a rough terrain and in such trying circumstances where breathtaking is difficult is not short of miracle.  Jawans from different states which have varied weather conditions come and serve the nation in such high altitudes with entirely different weather conditions is applaud-able,” Sitharaman said.

The ’Pratham-Shyok’ bridge is the first major development on the Shyok Gong river which will enhance the travel of locals as well as the army in this strategic region.

“It is the state-of-the-art bridge which will connect people of the region as well as increase travel and communication for strategic transport,” the minister said.

Complimenting the army jawans, the defence minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government in New Delhi are for full support of jawans who protect the nation in all circumstances.

“Government is for full support and backing of the jawans and security forces in the country. We are committed to spend time with the jawans and do whatever is possible for them,” she said in her address.

“The government will spend time with jawans across the country and in different regions to feel itself the conditions the jawans live in and realize their needs,” she said while recollecting the visit of the Prime Minster Modi to Siachen where he spent his time with the soldiers deployed to protect the country.

The minister said that the people also demand that the government should spend time with the jawans across the country and their places of deployment.

“I assure you that the government is with you all the time and in all circumstances. We are not only sensitive to your needs and demands but also to your families as well,” the minister said.

While lauding the BRO and its men for working in difficult terrain and hostile circumstances, the defence minister said that BRO not only connects people of small hamlets in those areas where the civilian administration cannot reach, but also provides connectivity for the army and strategic locations of the nation.

She said that constructing roads and bridges in difficult terrains will help in development and progress of our nation and its people.

The defence minister met the army commanders during her visit where she was briefed about the strategic locations and the continuous vigil by the soldiers to protect the nation.

Later, Lt Gen S K Shrivastava, Director General Border Roads, presented a memento to the defence minister and thanked her for visiting the area and inaugurating the bridge.

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