Manohar Parrikar to begin two-day Jammu and Kashmir visit today

Jammu: Defence minister Manohar Parrikar will begin his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. S.D. Goswami, spokesman of the army's Udhampur based northern command said, "The Raksha Mantri (defence minister) will begin his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Friday.

"Accompanied by the Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh Suhag, the Raksha Mantri (defence minister) will visit all the three regions of the state during this visit. "This will be Shri Manohar Parrikar's second visit to the state since he took over as the defence minister in November last year".

Manohar Parrikar

Parrikar will first visit the Ladakh region of the state where he is arriving on Friday morning alongwith Chief of Army Staff General Dalbir Singh Suhag. Lieutenant General D.S. Hooda, chief of Indian army's northern command and Lieutenant General, B.S. Negi, commander of army's Leh based 14th corps will receive Parrikar at the Leh airport on Friday morning.

Defence sources told IANS that Parrikar will discuss the situation along the line of actual control (LAC) that forms the de facto border between India and China in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. A briefing is scheduled to be given to the defence minister regarding the situation on the LAC that occasionally hits news headlines because of incursions by the Chinese army.

"The defence minister will reach Srinagar in the afternoon where he will hol d discussions with state Governor N.N. Vohra and Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed. He will spend the night in Srinagar," sources in the state government said. Lieutenant General Subrata Saha, commander of army's Srinagar based 15th corps will brief Parrikar about the situation on the line of control (LoC) and also about the anti-militancy situation in the hinterland, according to Defence sources.

Parrikar will visit the Jammu region on Saturday where he is likely to interact with the soldiers on the forward positions in Poonch district. During his Jammu visit, Lieutenant General K.H. Singh, commander of army's Nagrota based 16th corps will accompany Parrikar. Before concluding his visit on Saturday, Parrikar will pay obeisance at the Mata Vaishnoo Devi Shrine in Reasi district of Jammu region.

Reports also said in order to get a firsthand account of the extremely hostile weather and terrain conditions under which soldiers are guarding the country's frontiers, the defence minister may also visit the Siachin Glacier in Ladakh region. Situated at 5,400 metre above the sea level, Siachin is the world's highest battlefield.

On April 13, 1984, the Indian army snatched the control of the Siachin Glacier from Pakistan army. Naib subedar, Bana Singh, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir received the country's highest bravery award, the Param Vir Chakra (PVC) for leading the Indian army's Siachin operation from the front in 1984.

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