Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today visited the Siachen glacier and Srinagar to review security preparedness along the borders with Pakistan as well to take stock of anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir. In his first visit after taking charge of the defence ministry, Singh first travelled to the Siachen Glacier - the world's most dangerous battlefield -- where he also interacted with field commanders and soldiers. The defence minister was accompanied by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. The Siachen Glacier in the Karakorum range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world where the soldiers have to battle frostbite and high winds.
Singh took to Twitter and shared photos from the snowy battlefield. “Our soldiers in Siachen are performing their duty with great courage and fortitude even in extreme conditions and treacherous terrain. I salute their vigour and valour.”
“I am proud of all Army personnel serving in Siachen who are leaving no stone unturned to defend our motherland. I am also proud of their parents who have sent their children to serve the nation by joining the Armed forces. I will personally send a thank you note to them,” he added.
“Paid tributes to the martyred soldiers who sacrificed their lives while serving in Siachen. More than 1100 soldiers have made supreme sacrifice defending the Siachen Glacier. The nation will always remain indebted to their service and sacrifice,” he said on micro-blogging site.
From Siachen, Singh will go to Srinagar where Northern Army Commander Lt General Ranbir Singh and Leh-based 14 Corps Commander Lt General YK Joshi are scheduled to brief him about the security scenario along the borders will Pakistan as well as on the anti-terror operations, official sources said.
In the morning, Singh first arrived at the high-altitude airfield in Ladakh from where he will travel to the Kumar post. Then, the defence minister went to to Siachen glacier where he interacted with Army's field commanders and soldiers, the sources said. The Siachen Glacier in the Karakorum range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world where the soldiers have to battle frostbite and high winds.
Avalanches and landslides are common at the glacier during the winters and temperatures can drop to as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius. India and Pakistan started deploying troops at the strategically key glacier in 1984.
Sources said the defence minister was given detailed and specific presentations on functioning of 14 Corps and 15 corps including the Army's overall preparedness to deal with any possible eventualities and misadventure by Pakistan.
The Army's 14 Corps guards the Line of Actual Control with China as well as the Line of Control with Pakistan. The Srinagar-based 15 Corp is mainly tasked with carrying out anti-terror operations in the Kashmir valley.
The defence minister is scheduled to return to New Delhi on Monday evening.
(With agency inputs)