Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said Defence Minister can go anywhere where troops are posted
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat today dismissed China's objection
to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, saying the Defence Minister goes to areas across the country where troops are deployed.
General Rawat said the Defence Minister meets soldiers to understand their issues and such trips are always a source of motivation for the armed forces.
China had yesterday objected to Ms Sitharaman's first visit to Arunachal Pradesh last week, saying her tour was not conducive to peace in the region.
"Defence Minister visits troops in forward areas to meet them in person, to understand various issues which might be engulfing them. I think visits by the Defence Minister are always a source of motivation," General Rawat said on the sidelines of an event in Delhi. "After all it is the Ministry of Defence which is providing support to us," he said.
Ms Sitharaman on Sunday last visited forward army posts
in the remote Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh bordering China and met with troops posted there.
"As to Indian Defence Minister's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, you must be very clear about China's position," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying had told a media briefing yesterday.
"There is a dispute on the eastern section of the China-India boundary. So this visit by the Indian side to the disputed area is not conducive to the peace and tranquility of the relevant region," Ms Chunying said in a response to a question.
China routinely objects to top Indian officials' visiting Arunachal Pradesh.
On the reported killing of a nephew
of terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar during an encounter in Kashmir valley last night, the Army chief said the aim of the security forces was to contain terrorism. "It doesn't matter if he is Masood Azhar's nephew or anyone else," he said.
Indian troops have found a foreign-made M4 assault rifle with the terrorists during the encounter, which shows the terrorists have been getting support from across the border, General Rawat.
One of the three foreign terrorists killed in the Pulwama encounter last night is believed to Talha Rasheed, a nephew of the JeM chief.