Amid China tension, Rajnath in Ladakh to review preparedness

New Delhi, June 27

The dedication of soldiers and veterans towards the country is an exemplary example, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday soon after arriving in Ladakh on a three-day visit aimed at taking stock of the military preparedness in the region in the face of a prolonged border row with China.

‘Assures security’

Our aim is that all of you (soldiers) should be taken care of in the same way you had taken care of the country’s security. – Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister

To visit high-altitude bases

  • The Defence Minister will visit various key formations and high-altitude bases to assess the ground realities and to boost the morale of the troops guarding the LAC in a hostile environment
  • Accompanied by Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, he met veterans and discussed issues relating to their welfare as well as national security

In Leh, Singh interacted with senior elected representatives of Kargil, Leh and Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) with a focus on the overall development of the regions, officials said. The Defence Minister, accompanied by Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, also met a number of veterans and discussed issues relating to their welfare as well as national security.

“Our aim is that all of you should be taken care of in the same way you had taken care of the country’s security. Despite this, if you have any problems somewhere, a helpline has been arranged,” his office quoted him as saying. Official sources said the minister will carry out a comprehensive review of India’s operational readiness in eastern Ladakh amid a stalemate in the next stage of disengagement with China at several friction points.

His visit to the sensitive region comes two days after India and China held a fresh round of diplomatic talks to resolve the prolonged military standoff that began in early May last year. Rajnath is scheduled to visit various key formations and high-altitude bases in the region to assess the ground realities as well as to boost the morale of the troops guarding the Line of Actual Control in a hostile environment.

It is Singh’s first visit to eastern Ladakh after the Indian and Chinese militaries pulled back troops, tanks, infantry and other equipment from the Pangong lake areas in February as part of an agreement. The disengagement process in the remaining friction points is deadlocked as China is reluctant to withdraw its troops from these areas. — PTI 

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