US Army Chief To Visit J&K

15 October 2008

New Delhi: The chief of US Army, General George W. Cassey, will visit forward areas in Jammu and Kashmir during his visit in India. The first visit ever by a US chief to a forward base in the state starts tomorrow. He will visit the forward base camp just short of Saichen -located on the border between India and Pakistan. Sources said the General would be flying to the base camp located at a height of nearly 18,000 feet in an IAF chopper. However, he would not fly over Saichen or land at the helipad at the glacier, which is touted as the world’s highest battlefield. He would not go right to the top as the only way is on board a single engine Cheetah helicopter, which was not used for flying such high ranking dignitaries. Also the weather could get tricky in minutes, hence, no chances were being taken, sources said. Had he done that the General would have got a first hand view of how soldiers were operating in tough conditions at Saichen. The General will also visit Leh from where he will take a chopper flight till the base camp short of Saichen. It is at this base camp that things like supply chains and managing and moving stocks are managed to the top of the glacier. The idea of the US army seems to be to learn how logistics are managed in such remote and inaccessible locations. The US probably needs to implement the same in remote and snow bound areas in Afghanistan where it is a part of the NATO forces operating there since 2001. General Cassey will also be holding meetings with his Indian counterpart General Deepak Kapoor tomorrow to review the security scenario in South-East Asia. Here, the agenda is expected to be changing scenarios in Pakistan and the security situation that can emerge. He will commence his visit by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the Indian Gate and inspect a guard of honour at the south block lawns. He will also visit the Taj Mahal in Agra. Meanwhile, the US Navy and the Indian Navy will commence an exercise in the Arabian Sea under the “Malabar exercise”. This will include diverse activities, ranging from gun-firing and fighter combat operations from aircraft carriers to combating the scourge of terror, through Maritime interdiction operation exercises. The Malabar exercises are held every year with different countries participating in it.