Rajnath to visit Siachen Glacier today; Army chief reaches Jammu, reviews security

DM to celebrate Holi with troops, assess situation
CoAS calls for thwarting intrusions ahead of LS polls

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Mar 23: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be visiting Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world, in the Union Territory of Ladakh tomorrow to celebrate Holi festival with the troops and later take assessment of security situation with top Army Commanders accompanying him.
Ahead of Rajnath’s visit to Siachen, Army chief Gen Manoj Pande reached here today and visited Akhnoor sector in Jammu region to review security preparedness of the troops along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Rajnath will reach Leh from New Delhi tomorrow morning and fly to Siachen Glacier where temperature remains minus several degrees and celebrate festival of colours with the Army troops with a view to boost their morale.
Siachen Glacier is a border between India and Pakistan. For the past several years, the two sides haven’t exchanged any bullets there but on some occasions, few bravehearts sacrificed their lives due to snow avalanches.
The Defence Minister will be accompanied by Army chief Gen Manoj Pande, GOC-in-C Northern Command Lt Gen MV Suchindra Kumar and General Officer Commanding (GOC) Leh-based 14 Corps Lt Gen Rashim Bali besides other senior officers of the Army from Leh.
“Tomorrow, 24th March, I shall be in Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield. Looking forward to celebrate Holi with the Armed Forces personnel deployed there,” Rajnath Singh wrote on X.
The Siachen Glacier at the height of around 20,000 ft in the Karakoram 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.
Rajnath Singh will be at Siachen Glacier for nearly two hours.
During his visit, the Defence Minister is expected to take assessment of the situation in Siachen Glacier as well as Eastern Ladakh along Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China where Sino-Indian troops are facing each other for over nearly four years now.
Rajnath Singh will return to the Union capital in the afternoon. There is no other programme of the Defence Minister scheduled in Ladakh tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Army chief Gen Manoj Pande reached here today and visited forward areas along LoC with Pakistan in Akhnoor sector to review operational preparedness of the troops and Anti-Infiltration Grid.
Accompanied by top Army Commanders, Gen Pande was briefed on security situation by senior Army Commanders on the ground including prevailing security situation and operational preparedness.
The Chief of Army Staff commended all ranks for their unwavering commitment in exhibiting high standards of professionalism and maintaining a stable and secure environment in the region.
He is reported to have called upon the troops to give befitting reply to infiltration attempts by the forces from across the border to ensure that the terrorists don’t manage to enter into this side. For the past quite some time, there has been no major infiltration attempt in Akhnoor sector though the troops thwarted bid to smuggle weapons through drone. The consignment was seized.
Sources said the top Army Commanders gave detailed briefing to the Army chief about prevailing security scenario ahead of Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir as the terrorists at the behest of Pakistan could make attempts to trigger terror attacks. However, the troops are fully alert to thwart nefarious designs of Pakistan and the terrorists backed by the neighbour.
The COAS directed troops to ensure that no infiltration attempt is successful.

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