Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today inaugurated the Pratham-Shyok bridge that will connect Leh to the Karakoram, in the northeastern region of Ladakh. The bridge is very important strategically as it will provide connectivity to Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Olde axis for military transport. The defence minister has said the successful construction of Pratham-Shyok bridge at such high-altitude terrain is nothing short of a miracle. Sitaraman, who is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, also addressed the officers and personnel of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), according to PTI.
The defence minister said, “Jawans from different states, which have varied weather conditions, come and serve the nation in such high-altitudes and it is applaudable.” The bridge will increase communication and enhance the travel of locals as well as the Army in this strategic region. It is one of the major development on the Shyok Gong river. Sitaraman also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who supported the jawans as they protect the nation under all circumstances. She said, “We are committed to spending time with the jawans and do whatever is possible for them.” “I assure you that the government is with you all the time and in all circumstances. We are not only sensitive to your needs and demands but also to those of your families,” the minister added.
In Siachen base camp, the defence minister was received by Lt Gen S K Upadhyay, General Officer Commanding of Fire and Fury Corps. She paid tribute to fallen soldiers by laying a wreath at the war memorial on the forward area base, as per IE.
Sitaraman is on her first maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir, after taking charge as the defence minister. She also visited the forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Kashmir Valley. The visit to the state comes days after Union Minister Jitender Singh said there is need to “change the discourse” around Jammu and Kashmir, as per IE.