Nirmala reviews Kashmir situation ahead of Yatra

Nirmala reviews Kashmir situation ahead of Yatra

Nirmala Sitharaman at a high-level meeting held to review the security, at the Raj Bhavan in Srinagar. PTI

With annual Amarnathji yarta round the corner, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday reviewed the security situation in Kashmir.

Accompanied by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, the defence minister was received by Lt General Ranbir Singh, the Northern Army Commander and Lt General A K Bhatt, Chinar Corps Commander.

“The Raksha Mantri was briefed about the security and administrative arrangements for the upcoming Amarnath Yatra. She was subsequently given an update by the Chinar Corps Commander in Badami Bagh Cantonment on the latest security scenario in the Valley including details of Counter Infiltration and Counter Terrorist Operations undertaken in the recent past,” Defence Ministry spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said here.

Earlier, Sitharaman also undertook an aerial reece of the yatra route, along the Pahalgam axis, and inspected the arrangements at Baltal, before she arrived at Srinagar. She stressed that all security agencies must act with complete synergy to achieve effective security on the ground.

Reiterating the importance of a secure environment being maintained for enabling a smooth yatra and encouraging maximum tourist arrivals in the state, the defence minister advised the security forces to constantly review and identify any gap in the security arrangements and ensure swift and targeted counter-terror responses on the ground.

An official spokesperson said later the governor apprised defence minister that while very good coordination exists between all the security forces operating in the State, the Police will continue to review the ground arrangements in the coming days, to ensure effective security.

Officials said 213 additional companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed to secure the nearly 400 km-long yatra route from Jammu to the two base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam. The nearly two-month-long pilgrimage is scheduled to begin from both the routes from June 28.

Pilgrims using the Pahalgam route take four days to reach the shrine while those using the Baltal route reach back to the base camp the same day after praying inside the shrine cave which involves only 14 km-long one-way uphill trek.

This was defence minister’s first visit to the state after Ramazan unilateral ceasefire was called off by the Center last week.