Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday asked the Army to remain prepared to give a befitting reply to any misadventure from across the border, during his visit to review security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
His visit comes in the aftermath of two security personnel being beheaded by the Pakistani Army after crossing the Line of Control (LoC).
He also asked the forces to deal firmly with the inimical elements but ensure safety of the innocent people, said officials.
Newly-appointed Defence Secretary Amit Mitra and Army chief General Bipin Rawat were also present during the review meeting, which took place against the backdrop of spurt in militant attacks and incidents of stone-pelting in Kashmir and repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the LoC.
He was briefed on the overall preparedness of the army to meet challenges of ceasefire violations by Pakistan and the heightened risk of infiltration as the snow starts to thaw on the mountains.
This would be Jaitley’s first visit to the state after he took over the additional charge of Defence Ministry from Manohar Parrikar.
The Defence Minister advanced his visit to the state by a day since he was scheduled to chair the two-day long Goods and Services Tax (GST) council meeting which will be held in Srinagar on 18 and 19 May.
The ongoing students’ unrest fanning separatist sentiments in the valley was also reportedly remain in focus.
Jaitley reportedly “lauded the valour, sacrifice and patriotic fervour of every soldier who is serving in these challenging situations for national integrity”, saying the entire country is proud of them.
Quoting a top official, IANS reported:
The impact of an unrest on the overall security situation cannot be wished away. Therefore, the visit will also focus on ways and means to help the civil administration bring the situation under control.
Jaitley and Rawat’s visit comes weeks after the beheading of two security officials by the Pakistani military in Kashmir’s Poonch district. While Jaitley said the sacrifice will not go in vain, Army chief Rawat had hinted at retaliatory actions.