In the aftermath of avalanches claiming lives of 20 soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat today asked the troops to take necessary precautions to avoid such losses while stressing the need to maintain high degree of vigil along the LoC.
General Rawat, who visited the forward areas of snow-bound north Kashmir along with Northern Army Commander Lt Gen D Anbu and Corps Commander of Srinagar-based 15 corps Lt Gen J S Sandhu, also reviewed the overall security situation in the Valley, a defence spokesman said.
He said the Army Chief arrived in Srinagar yesterday and was briefed by Lt Gen Sandhu on security as also the measures to meet the challenges posed by weather which were highlighted in the recent incidents of avalanches in the higher reaches of north Kashmir.
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As many as 20 Army personnel including a major and a Junior Commissioned Officer lost their lives in three separate incidents of avalanches in Sonamarg area of Ganderbal, Gurez in Bandipora and Machhil in Kupwara districts. While an officer lost his life in Sonamarg on January 25, another group of 14 soldiers were buried alive under an avalanche in Gurez sector the same day following heavy snowfall in the high altitude areas of the Valley.
Five more soldiers, who were rescued after being trapped for several hours under snow in Machhil on January 28, succumbed to injuries two days later. Paying tributes to the martyrs, Gen Rawat laid emphasis on the need to be constantly aware of the weather patterns prevailing in the area and take all necessary precautions to avoid any untoward incidents, the spokesman said.
Accompanied by the Lt Gen Anbu and Lt Gen Sandhu, the spokesman said Army Chief today visited LoC formations in north Kashmir where he was briefed on the operational and logistical preparedness.
Commending the alertness of all troops deployed along the LoC in foiling the nefarious designs of “inimical forces”, the Army chief stressed upon the need to continue “our endeavours in maintaining a high degree of vigil”. The spokesman said the General also visited the Victor Force Headquarters at Awantipora in south Kashmir where he was apprised of the latest situation in south Kashmir.
“He appreciated the professionalism with which the troops had been operating in full synergy with other security and civil agencies to keep the situation under control and impressed upon everyone to uphold human rights at all times,” the spokesman said.
He said General Rawat was also briefed upon the numerous initiatives undertaken by the Army all across the Valley to constructively engage with the ‘Awaam’ (people) towards their well being. Lauding such humanitarian steps, Gen Rawat reinforced the need to synergise efforts with all the other stakeholders, the spokesman said.