Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday spent Dussehra with the troops at Siachen and other forward locations in the Ladakh region and conveyed to them the government’s commitment to support them in all circumstances.
During the visit, she reviewed the security situation in the border region and inaugurated a bridge that will link Leh to Karakoram, providing connectivity on the strategically important Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Olde axis for military transport.
“The defence minister interacted with the soldiers in the remote areas of Siachen Glacier and conveyed her best wishes on the auspicious occasion of Dussehra,” a defence spokesman said.
Complimenting the army jawans, she said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the union government fully support the soldiers who are protecting the nation in all circumstances.
“I assure you that the government is with you all the time and in all circumstances. We are not only sensitive to your needs and demands but also to those of your families,” the minister said addressing the troops.
Recalling the prime minister’s visit to Siachen where he spent time with soldiers on Diwali in 2014, she said the government wanted to understand the conditions in which the jawans live.
“Jawans from different states, which have varied weather conditions, come and serve the nation in such high-altitudes and it is laudable,” she said.
“We are committed to spending time with the jawans and do whatever is possible for them,” said Sitharaman, who is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
She was accompanied by Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen D Anbu and GoC 14 Corps Lt Gen S K Upadhyay.
The defence minister also inaugurated the Pratham-Shyok bridge, the first major construction on the Shyok Gong river, which will enhance the travel of locals as well as the army in this strategic region.
After inaugurating the bridge built by the Border Roads Organisation, she said it is nothing short of a miracle to construct roads and bridges in such a rough terrain and in such trying circumstances where even breathing is difficult.
While lauding the BRO and its men for working in difficult terrains and hostile conditions, Sitharaman said that BRO not only connects people of small hamlets in those areas where the civilian administration cannot reach, but also provides connectivity for the army and strategic locations of the nation.
She said that constructing roads and bridges in difficult terrains will help in development and progress of the nation and its people.