Srinagar, July 20 (IANS) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday paid tribute to the martyred soldiers at the Kargil War Memorial in Jammu and Kashmir's Drass town on the 20th anniversary of the Kargil victory.
The Defence Minister arrived in Srinagar in the morning along with Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Prime Minister's Office), in a special plane. They were received by K. Vijay Kumar, advisor to the state governor and senior civil, police and military officers at Srinagar International Airport.
From Srinagar, Rajnath Singh flew to Kargil to pay tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the service of the nation, a Defence Ministry statement said.
"He was accompanied by Union Minister Jitendra Singh, the Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat and the General Officer Commanding in Chief Northern Command, Lt. General Ranbir Singh.
"The Raksha Mantri (Defence Minister) commenced his visit by laying a wreath in memory of the gallant martyrs of Operation Vijay at the iconic Kargil War Memorial, which was followed by observing of one minute silence as a mark of respect for the fallen heroes," the statement read.
"He subsequently visited the 'Veer Bhoomi' and the 'Hut of Remembrance' which are co-located in the Memorial premises. During his visit, the Raksha Mantri was briefed on Operation Vijay including the heroic actions of the Indian troops in thwarting the evil designs of the enemy in the Drass, Kargil and Batalik sectors."
"As part of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas, Rajnath Singh dedicated a 'Memory Lane' which displays information on a few important battles.
"The 'Memory Lane' recapitulates the gallant deeds of the brave Indian Army Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and jawans who fought against all odds to rid the Indian territory of enemy intruders," the statement added.
"Subsequently, Lt. General Y.K. Joshi, General Officer Commanding Fire and Fury Corps, himself a veteran of Operation Vijay, briefed the Raksha Mantri at Lamochan View Point on various battles that took place during the Kargil War in 1999.
"The Raksha Mantri also took the opportunity to share a cup of tea and interact with the soldiers presently deployed in the sector.
"He appreciated the dedication of the troops who are defending the borders in these challenging conditions and conveyed the appreciation of the nation to the Army for always keeping the 'Nation First'," the statement said.
The Defence Minister is visiting the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the Line of Control (LoC) to review the security situation on the state's borders.
He will inaugurate two bridges in Kathua and Samba districts before ending his day-long visit to the state.
His visit was marked by the Pakistan Army violating the bilateral ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) at three places in Poonch district in which a civilian was injured.