Srinagar: Visiting Siachen glacier for the first time after becoming Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar today met the troops at the base camp of the world's highest battlefield, as he kicked off his two-day security review tour of Jammu and Kashmir.
Parrikar, who was sworn in as the Defence Minister in the Narendra Modi government on November 9, also conducted an aerial survey of the glacier.
The Minister, who is accompanied by Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag, later met state Governor N N Vohra and Chief MInister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed here for discussions on the prevailing security scenario in the state, defence officials said.
The Defence Minister and his entourage arrived at the Thoise Airbase early in the morning from where they went by a helicopter to the Siachen base camp.
Parrikar laid a wreath at the memorial at Siachen base camp and interacted with the troops posted in the toughest deployment terrain.
“He(Parrikar) praised the courage of the troops and their devotion to duty,” the officials said.
The Defence Minister was briefed by senior army officials about the situation in the glacier area, they said adding, Parrikar later conducted an aerial survey of the glacier. From Siachen, he went to Leh where General Officer Commanding of the Army's 14 Corps Lt Gen B S Negi briefed him about the situation along the Line of Actual Control(LoAC) on the Chinese side and the Line of Control(LoC) along the Pakistani side, the officials said.
On his arrival here, the Defence Minister was briefed about the security situation in Kashmir Valley including the anti-infiltration grid put in place.
General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt General Subrata Saha made a detailed presentation to the Defence Minister about various issues pertaining to operations in the Valley, defence sources said. The sources said the focus of the presentation was likely implications on the security grid in case of partial or full withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state.
Lt Gen Saha also briefed the Minister about the situation along the LoC, possibility of increase in infiltration attempts from across the border in view of melting of snow in higher reaches and the counter strategy put in place to foil any such attempts, the sources said.
Saying he would take “proactive steps” to meet any threat to the country, Parrikar yesterday said “you have to neutralise terrorist through terrorist only”.
Parrikar will fly to Jammu tomorrow morning and visit forward posts in Poonch sector. He will also be briefed by senior army officials about the security situation in Jammu region.