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Antony Asks Troops To Be Watchful

Defense Minister AK Antony with top army officials at a briefing in Leimakhong. Image Credit: Sangai Photo.

IMPHAL, Feb 19: Defense Minister AK Antony has instructed army troops being deployed in the North East region to keep a watchful eye even on the smallest developments in the neighborhood of the region.

Amidst contentious Chinese claims over North East region, particularly Arunachal Pradesh, Defense Minister AK Antony today landed at Imphal and interacted with Indian troops deployed in the border state.

The Defense Minister accompanied by Chief of Staff General VK Singh landed at Tulihal Airport in a special Indian Air Force aircraft at 12.20 pm today.

There the Defense Minister was received by SPF spokesman and YAS Minister N Biren, Health Minister L Jayantakumar, Additional DGP V Zathang, Red Shield Division GOC Maj Gen DS Hooda and IG AR (S) Maj Gen CA Krishnan.

From Tulihal Airport, the Defense Minister and his team were flown to 57th Mountain Division garrison at Leimakhong in an Indian Air Force MI 17 helicopter.

At Leimakhong, AK Antony interacted with army officers. However, the Defense Minister abstained from visiting forward areas.

Before his trip to Imphal, AK Antony addressed a Sainik Sammelan at the 3 Corps Hqs at Ranga Pahar, Nagaland.

There, he instructed the army to establish healthy relationship with the local populace, win the hearts and minds and project the army in a positive light.

Though maintaining peace and tranquility along the border is crucial, the Army should ensure that their operational preparedness is of the highest level.

Conceding that some recent instances of corruption in high places in the army have brought harm to the army’s credibility and image, the Defense Minister urged the army personnel to ensure that the sense of pride and dignity of the army is maintained at all times. “We will take very strict action whenever any case of corruption comes or is brought to our notice”, AK Antony stated.

He also agreed with the suggestion made by a number of jawans for issuing a pair of boots every 12 months in place of the current practice of issuing boots after every 26 months. The Defense Minister promptly asked officials of his Ministry to bring about this change.

He also reviewed security situation at the border and progress made in the development of infrastructure in the North East region together with senior army and MoD officials.

Accompanied by Gen VK Singh, Defense Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Bikram Singh, 3 Corps Commander Lt Gen NK Singh and ADG (M&C) of MoD Sitanshu Kar, Antony was also briefed on the overall situation of the State at Leimakhong.

According to a PIB (DW) release, the visit was a part of the Minister’s two days tour of the NE region to review security arrangements and progress in infrastructure for the defense forces.

AK Antony was briefed by Red Shield Division GOC Maj Gen DS Hooda at Leimakhong.

The Minister appreciated progress of various defense infrastructure and security arrangements made by the Red Shield Division in the State.

He also lauded the efforts of the troops in maintaining the lowest state of violence in Manipur in the last few decades.

He also appreciated the projects initiated by the Red Shield Division for the people in the remote areas of Manipur.

The PRO PIB (Defense Wing) Col Ajay Chowdhry said, AK Antony visited ‘DISHA’, the boys’ hostel set up by Red Shield Division for the unprivileged children.

The Minister gifted a 46″ LCD TV to the hostel and complemented the COAS, Gen VK Singh for his vision and GOC 57 Mtn Div for constructing and running the hostel impeccably.

AK Antony also had lunch with the troops of Red Shield Division at Leimakhong where he interacted very closely with the soldiers and enquired about their well being and what he could do for them as the Defense Minister.

The Minister expressed his appreciation by complementing all ranks for their efforts in making the visit a success and then proceeded back to Delhi, added the PIB Defense Wing press release.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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