October 2016 News

India, China To Hold Joint Military Exercises In Leh

2 October 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, joined by Home Secretary, Rajiv Mehrishi would hold high-level review of security situation along Sino-India and Indo-Pak frontiers in Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh region during their two-day visit to mountain locked region beginning tomorrow. This will be Rajnath's first visit to any part of Jammu and Kashmir after September 29 surgical strikes by the Indian Army inside Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and fourth to the State during ongoing Kashmir unrest. Though primarily visit of the Union Home Minister is aimed at assuaging feelings of Ladakhis after All Party Delegation (APD) headed by Rajnath Singh skipped Ladakh during their two day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on September 4 and 5, he would review 'operational preparedness' of Army and ITBP and infrastructure requirement of the troops along Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Leh and Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan in Leh and Kargil districts. Deputy Commissioner, Leh Prasanna Ramaswamy told the Excelsior that all arrangements for the visit of the Home Minister and the Home Secretary have been finalized. Though the visit of Rajnath Singh to Leh and Kargil had been planned a couple of days before the surgical strikes, sources said the Home Minister and the Home Secretary, apart from meeting series of delegations in Leh and Kargil, will review security situation on the frontiers with China and Pakistan with top Army officials including General Officer Commanding (GOC) Leh Lt Gen PJS Pannu and senior officers of para-military ITBP, which man the LAC with China in Eastern Ladakh. 'The Indian frontiers with China and LAC were completely calm,' sources said. In fact, they added, the Sino-Indian troops would be conducting joint military exercises in Eastern Ladakh this month. They had conducted first joint exercise in February this year. An Army handout said in sharp contrast with situation on LoC with Pakistan where support to terrorism by Pakistan has led to increased tensions, all issued with China are being resolved with positive interaction between Military Commanders of Indian Army and People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China, leading to peace on the LAC. 'Any issue between the two sides is being mutually resolved at two Border Meeting Points (BMPs)-Chushul and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), located at an altitude of 17,000 feet from the sea level,' it said. Sources said Rajnath Singh and Rajiv Mehrishi will meet delegations of all political parties, social, religious and other organizations and individuals at Leh on October 3 and Kargil on October 4. Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh and Kargil chairpersons Dr Sonam Dawa and Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan respectively will also brief the Home Minister about the requirements of the two districts. Though Rajnath has no plans to visit forward areas along LAC and LoC, he would meet top Army commanders and ITBP officials to review situation prevailing along frontiers with China and Pakistan and infrastructure requirements of the troops. This was Rajnath's first visit to any part of J&K after September 29 surgical strikes by the Indian Army inside PoK and fourth during ongoing unrest in the Valley. He had visited Kashmir in July and August for two days each followed by head of All Party delegation to Srinagar and Jammu on September 4 and 5. It may be mentioned here that several organizations of Ladakh including BJP's own Lok Sabha member, Thupstan Chhewang had strongly resented neglect of Ladakh region by the All Party Delegation, which had only visited Jammu and Kashmir during its two-day visit on September 4 and 5. At the end of visit, Rajnath had assured the people of Ladakh that he would shortly visit the region. Sources said Rajnath Singh would be fulfilling his promise to the people of Ladakh within a month. The people of Ladakh had for the first time elected the BJP MP and gave two-third majority to the party in LAHDC, Leh elections.