Jaitley visits forward areas; praises troops for their grit

SRINAGAR, MAY 19 (UNI)- Union Minister of Finance and Defence Arun Jaitley with senior Army officers visiting a high ridge forward position in Rampur Sector in North Kashmir on Friday. UNI PHOTO-29U

SRINAGAR: Assuring troops that entire country was behind them, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley visited the forward areas on the Line of Control (LoC) in the north Kashmir today.

Mr Jaitley, who is here to chair a two-day 14th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting from yesterday, was given a detailed brief by senior Army officers on May 17 when he arrived here.

A Defence Ministry spokesman said Mr Jaitley today visited the forward areas in Rampur Sector of North Kashmir. Accompanied by GOC of Baramulla based division, Maj Gen RP Kalita, the Defence Minister interacted with the troops and praised their grit, determination and selfless service to the nation.

Expressing happiness to be amid the soldiers, Mr Jaitley said the entire country recognised the challenging circumstances that they were operating in and stood behind them in all their endeavours.

He reiterated the need to maintain strict vigil at all times to thwart any nefarious designs of forces inimical to national interests.

Defence sources said Mr Jaitley was given a detailed brief about the overall security situation on LoC as large number of trained militants are waiting across the border in launch pads to sneak into this side.

However, the Defence Minister was informed about the functioning of anti infiltration grid to foil any attempt of infiltration from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where a number of training camps are still operating.

This was the first visit of Mr Jaitley after assuming the charge of the Defence Minister following appointment of Manohar Parrikar as Goa Chief Minister.

Visit by Mr Jaitley assumes significance as troops has already warned that it has reserved the right to respond to mutilation of bodies of two soldiers by Pakistani troops in Poonch district recently.

The Defence Minister was also given a detailed brief about the overall security situation in the Valley, where militant activities and student unrest has witnessed surge during the past few months. (AGENCIES)

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