Defense Minister visits forward areas; praises troops for their grit

Newspoint Bureau
Srinagar, May 19
Assuring troops that entire country was behind them, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley visited the forward areas on the Line of Control (LoC) in the north Kashmir today.
Mr Jaitley, who is here to chair a two-day 14th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting from yesterday, was given a detailed brief by senior Army officers on May 17 when he arrived here. A Defence Ministry spokesman said Mr Jaitley today visited the forward areas in Rampur Sector of North Kashmir. Accompanied by GOC of Baramulla based division, Maj Gen RP Kalita, the Defence Minister interacted with the troops and praised their grit, determination and selfless service to the nation.
Expressing happiness to be amid the soldiers, Mr Jaitley said the entire country recognised the challenging circumstances that they were operating in and stood behind them in all their endeavours.
He reiterated the need to maintain strict vigil at all times to thwart any nefarious designs of forces inimical to national interests.
Jaitley held a meeting with senior army commanders at a forward post along the LoC in north Kashmir, and reviewed the security situation in the valley which has been witnessing spiraling violence.
“Had a meeting with senior commanders & troops at a forward post along the LoC, and reviewed security situation.

“The aggressive domination and readiness of troops for befitting response to any misadventure by enemy is very satisfying,” he tweeted.

He conducted an aerial survey of forward posts along the LoC and interacted with troops in Rampur sector where he told them to maintain vigil and foil any misadventure from across the border, an army official said.

Jaitley, who was accompanied by General Officer Commanding of Chinar Corps, lauded the high morale of the troops and assured them that the entire nation was with them, he added.

His visit here comes weeks after Pakistani Army beheaded two Indian security personnel in Poonch district which was termed “barbaric” by India.

While Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat had hinted at retaliation to avenge the killings, Jaitley had said the sacrifice of the two soldiers will not go in vain and that the armed forces will react “appropriately”.

On Wednesday, in a meeting to review the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, had asked the Army to remain prepared to give a befitting reply to any misadventure from across the border.

The Kashmir valley has witnessed a spurt in incidents of violence and militant attacks in the last couple of months.

This was the first visit of Mr Jaitley after assuming the charge of the Defence Minister following appointment of Manohar Parrikar as Goa Chief Minister.

Visit by Mr Jaitley assumes significance as troops has already warned that it has reserved the right to respond to mutilation of bodies of two soldiers by Pakistani troops in Poonch district recently.

The Defence Minister was also given a detailed brief about the overall security situation in the Valley, where militant activities and student unrest has witnessed surge during the past few months.

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