Army chief visits Northern Command HQ in Udhampur, reviews operational preparedness

Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi on Tuesday said status quo is maintained with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh and talks are going on at different levels, while the situation is under control in Jammu and Kashmir where efforts are on to stop terror incidents completely. The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GoC) of Udhampur-based Northern Command was addressing a mega 'Veterans Sampark' rally which was attended by over 800 veterans and 'veer naris' at a unit of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles at Digiana here.

"The status quo is maintained with China on LAC. Talks are going on at different levels and all our formations are at a high level of operation preparedness," Lt Gen Dwivedi, who took over the charge of the Army commander of the Northern Command and the Colonel of the Regiment of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles and Ladakh Scouts on February 1 last year, said.

The Indian Army and the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) have been locked in a standoff in multiple areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh since May 2020.

Lt Gen Dwivedi also talked about continuity of the ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan but said there have been some infiltration attempts which have been successfully foiled by the Indian Army.

"The situation in the hinterland is largely under control. Our counter-insurgency/counter terrorism grid is fully working with civil administration and efforts are on to stop terror incidents completely," he said.

Maj Gen (Govardhan Singh Jamwal (Retd); Director, Sainik Welfare Department, J and K, Brigadier Gurmeet Singh Shan (Retd); Commander, 92 Infantry Brigade, Brig S K Goswami; and Commandant, JAK Rifles regimental centre, Brig Rajesh Sharma also attended the rally, which was jointly organized by 7 JAK Rifles and 26 Infantry Division.

"The purpose of this rally is to reach out to the ex-servicemen of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, their closest relatives and veer naris living in the nearest district of Jammu and surrounding areas, to solve their problems and anomalies related to pension and to get medical help from medical experts," Lt Gen Dwivedi said.

On the occasion, latest information was disseminated about the welfare schemes run by the Indian Army and the central and state governments for ex-servicemen, their families and veer naris.

The Northern Commander said since most of the soldiers and ex-servicemen of the regiment are from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, the Army will organise more such rallies in these areas to reach out to the ex-servicemen and solve their problems.

"It is my endeavor to meet my ex-soldiers and brave women at their homes. We have met ex-servicemen and veer naris in Kupwara, Srinagar, Palampur, Leh, Akhnoor, Rajouri and Dehradun and will organise rallies in Anantnag, Amritsar, Jutogh and Darjeeling in the future," he said.

Talking about the bravery of the JAK Rifles, Lt Gen Dwivedi said the regiment was raised in Jammu in 1820 and has given a wonderful example of its valor and sacrifice, conquering areas like Tibet, Gilgit, Yasin, Darel, Hunza-Nagar, Chilas and Chitral under the leadership of General Zorawar Singh.

"The regiment has participated in every war since 1820 and was made an integral part of the Indian Army as the Jammu and Kashmir Regiment. In 1963, our regiment was again renamed as Jammu and Kashmir Rifles regiment which has set many examples of service to the country in every field and was honoured with a total of 2,365 awards including two PVC, two AC, one Padam Bhushan, five MVC, 11 KC," he said.

Referring to the Agniveer scheme, he said under the new policy there will be a written test first and only those who pass the written test will be called for physical and medical tests.

He said the Army is committed to provide alternate career options to its veterans and has set up Army Welfare Placement Organisation and Directorate of Resettlement North Zone.

The Army commander also informed the gathering about the transit facility set up by Garud Defence Guidance Cell (GDGC) at Raiwala and Rishikesh, which provides the facility of stay for jawans with their families at Raiwala (Raiwala Retreat) and Rishikesh (Holiday Home) during their journey.

He said the 14th Reunion and 31st Biennial will be organised at JAK Rifles Centre later this year.

As a gesture of respect and gratitude, war veterans, gallantry awardees, veer naris and next of kin were felicitated in recognition of their contribution in the service of the nation.