Antony, who is accompanied by Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh and Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, was received at the airport by Medical Education Minister R S Chib, and Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani, official sources said. They said the defence minister will review the security situation in the Valley and also chair the Unified Headquarters meeting. This is Antony's first visit to the state in the last 18 months.
Antony will also interact with state Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
"The defence minister will visit
several forward areas in the state and will interact with troops and senior defence as well as state government officials. He will also head the meeting of UHQ during which he will be briefed on present security situation in state and along the Indo-Pakistan border," Defence Ministry officials said.
Antony will also visit the headquarters of some of the key military formations in the state to take stock of their preparedness and will interact with the troops there. He will return to the capital on Sunday.
The defence minister is also expected to discuss the issue of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the state with top commanders.
While the army has been insisting on maintaining a status quo regarding the law, state government and several other political parties have demanded its revocation.