Ahead of Rajnath’s visit, Army chief reviews Op’l preparedness in Drass

TNN Bureau. Updated: 7/20/2019 12:00:30 PM Front Page

SRINAGAR: A day before the arrival of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on a day-long tour of State, Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday visited Drass sector and reviewed the operational preparedness of the armed forces.

In his second visit to Jammu and Kashmir after assuming charge as Defence Minister last month, Rajnath Singh will lay a wreath at the Kargil War Memorial in Dras on Saturday to commemorate 20 years of the Indian Army's Operation Vijay, before proceeding of other parts of the State.

On Friday, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bipin Rawat reviewed the operational preparedness of his men in Drass sector, a defence spokesman said here.

"General Rawat was briefed by the General Officer Commanding, 'Fire & Fury' Corps on the prevailing situation and operational preparedness in the sector," defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.
He said the Army chief also interacted with soldiers deployed on the Line of Control (LoC).

General Rawat was accompanied by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Lt Gen Ranbir Singh.

“While interacting with the jawans, he appreciated the tenacity and resolve of the soldiers guarding the borders in the harsh terrain and extreme weather conditions,” the defence spokesman said.

Recalling the valour and sacrifice of troops who fought in Operation Vijay in Drass sector in 1999, he exhorted all ranks to execute their assigned tasks with the same zeal, vigour and responsibility, Kalia added.

He also called upon all ranks of the 'Fire & Fury' Corps to re-dedicate themselves towards upholding the values that the Indian Army stands for, he said.

Army chief’s visit came ahead of Rajnath Singh’s day-long tour of all three regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

On Saturday morning, Singh will fly from New Delhi to Srinagar from where he will be accompanied by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.

Singh will review the security situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Valley and the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, besides hinterland operations with Army's 14 Corps in Leh and 15 Corps in Srinagar.

He will then fly to Drass in Ladakh where he is scheduled to visit the war memorial.

The Defence minister will lay the wreath at the Kargil War Memorial in Dras on Saturday on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Operation Vijay that was against the intrusion by militias as well as regular troops of Pakistan in the Kargil sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

From there, he is scheduled to fly to Jammu, where he will inaugurate two major bridges on the rivers Uhj and Basantar in Kathua and Samba districts, they said.

The Ujh bridge is one kilometre-long and the Basantar bridge is 617.4 metres. Both of them are built by the Border Roads Organisation.

This is Singh's first visit to Jammu after taking over the new defence minister. He had earlier visited Kashmir and Ladakh regions on June 3 when he had visited the Siachen glacier - the world's most dangerous battlefield - where he met the soldiers guarding the border above altitudes of 12,000 feet amd also the headquarters of the Army's 14 Corps in Leh and 15 Corps in Srinagar.

Meanwhile, the defence ministry issued a statement regarding the commemoration of 20 years of the Indian Army's Operation Vijay.

"Brave soldiers of the Indian Army had overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, hostile terrain, weather, and a determined enemy occupying dominating heights, to win the Kargil War with the help of the Indian Air Force, which gave air support to the Army," the statement said.

A host of events have been organised and a few major ones are lined up to mark the 20 years of the conflict.

Operation Vijay refers to the Indian Army's limited war against Pakistan's infiltration in 1999 fought at the icy heights of Kargil, including super-high altitude locations such as Tololing and Tiger Hill.

One of the major events is the relay of a Victory Flame from the National War Memorial (NWM) in New Delhi to the Kargil War Memorial at Dras.

The Defence minister on July 14 handed over the flame to ace army shooter Subedar Jitu Rai, who represented India as the first torchbearer at the NWM in Delhi.

The Victory Flame is being carried by the Indian Army's outstanding sportsmen and war heroes from Delhi to Dras. It will pass through nine major towns or cities of north India and finally culminate at the Karambhoomi of the martyrs at the Kargil War Memorial at Dras on July 26, where it will be received by the Army chief, the ministry said.

All along the journey, Indian Army personnel will pay homage to the heroes who fought valiantly for the nation at the icy heights of Kargil in 1999. The Victory Flame and the journey of the eternal flame from the National War Memorial to the Kargil War Memorial brings alive the theme of the 20th anniversary of the Kargil Vijay Diwas - 'Remember, Rejoice and Renew'.

"We 'remember' our martyrs by revisiting their sacrifices, we 'rejoice' by celebrating the victory in Kargil and we 'renew' our resolve to safeguard the honour of the tricolour," the statement said.

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