India ready for any unanticipated situation in Doklam: Nirmala Sitharaman
(Sourced from PTI)
Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said India is "alert" and ready to deal with any "unforeseen situation" in Doklam. Sitharaman who was on a visit to Uttarakhand for the first time after assuming office, also said that the government is constantly working towards modernization of forces. "We will maintain our territorial integrity," she said during a function at the state Chief Minister's residence.
Indian troops and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam from June 16, 2017, after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. Sitharaman said Uttarakhand was not only the land of gods but also the land of bravehearts who have always been a significant part of India's armed forces.
"I bow my head to this sacred land which also produces men of valor," Sitharaman said. "As many as 21 brave sons of Uttarakhand have been conferred with the Paramvir Chakra, India's highest military honor," she said. "There are brave Armymen in Uttarakhand honored with the Victoria Cross as well as families which have served in the armed forces for three generations," she added.
Addressing NDA and IMA cadets, Sitharaman said they were going to be part of a highly modernized force as a number of new initiatives have been taken by PM Narendra Modi to modernize the Army, Navy, and the Air Force. She also showered praise on the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering Director Colonel Ajay Kothiyal for training local youths to serve the armed forces.
Sitharaman added that self-motivated people like Colonel Kothiyal were a source of inspiration for everyone. Expressing the Centre's commitment to do all it can for defense personnel and their families, she spoke of plans to build a command hospital equipped with modern facilities in the state. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, who also addressed the cadets, said he always felt proud to visit Uttarakhand.