Army chief visits Srinagar, Siachen

Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat at Siachen base camp, Leh on Monday.
Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat at Siachen base camp, Leh on Monday.

Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar, Jan 23:  Army chief, General Bipin Rawat today visited Siachen and Srinagar where he was briefed by the top Commanders about the security situation along the borders and in Kashmir valley before he left for New Delhi.
The Army chief arrived in Srinagar for his first visit to the Valley after assuming the appointment as the COAS but didn’t visit 15 Corps headquarters due to bad weather. He was accompanied by Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General D Anbu during his visit.
On his arrival to Srinagar Air Field, General Rawat was briefed by the 15 Corps Commander, Lt Gen JS Sandhu and other Commanders on the security situation along the Line of Control (LoC) and Kashmir valley.
The Commanders briefed the Army chief at the Air Filed about recent successful operations in Kashmir valley in which security forces eliminated a top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander, Abu Musaib last week and several Hizbul Mujahideen militants.
The Army Commanders informed him that the focus of the troops is to conduct intelligence based operations and avoid any collateral damage during these operations. He was given details about conduct of operations which have become difficult in built up areas of late due to stone pelting attacks on troops during these operations.
The Army chief was also briefed about the preparedness of the troops deployed along the LoC in Kashmir. Sources said that he was told that Army is alert on the LoC despite heavy snowfall last week which closed the mountain passes and made infiltration difficult.
Gen Rawat was also briefed about various programmes conducted by Army across Kashmir to win hearts and minds of the people and engage youth in various activities so that they don’t fall prey to militancy.
Srinagar based Defence spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia said here that Army chief was briefed about the prevailing security scenario in Kashmir and the measures instituted to integrate all Government agencies for efficient intelligence generation and successful conduct of operations. “He complimented the soldiers on ground for their high morale, outstanding vigilance and state of preparedness”, he said.
“On arrival at Siachen base camp, the Army chief paid tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath at Siachen War Memorial and then interacted with troops posted at Siachen. Thereafter, the Army chief moved to Leh where he was briefed on the overall security situation and operational preparedness by the Corps Commander”, he said.
The spokesman said: “The Army chief later interacted with officers and men at the Leh Garrison. During his interaction, he appreciated the commitment, dedication, sacrifice and professionalism of all officers and men posted to the region and called up on them to continue to uphold the core values of the Indian Army.”
“The Army chief who has served the people of Kashmir in various capacities including commanding the prestigious Dagger Division in 2011-2012 and an RR Sector in Sopore – Bandipora in 2006-2007, also conveyed his greetings to the Awaam of Kashmir and reassured them of the Army’s commitment towards their well being”, the spokesman said.