India is “alert” and ready to deal with any “unforeseen situation” in Doklam, asserted Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday. Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam from June 16 last year after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. The face-off ended on August 28.
“We are alert and ready for any unforeseen situation in Doklam. We are constantly working towards the modernisation of our forces. We will maintain our territorial integrity,” she told reporters in Uttarakhand.
Sitharaman said Uttarakhand was not only the land of gods (devbhoomi) but also the land of brave hearts, who have always been a significant part of the country’s armed forces. “I bow my head to this sacred land which also produces men of valour,” she said.
“As many as 21 brave sons of Uttarakhand have been conferred with the Paramvir Chakra, the country’s highest military honour,” she said, adding, “there are brave armymen in the state honoured with the Victoria Cross as well as families which have served in the armed forces for three generations”.
“At least one member of each family from Uttarakhand serves in the armed forces. Even the present Army chief is from Uttarakhand. It is indeed a matter of great pride” she said.
Addressing NDA and IMA cadets, she said they were going to be part of a highly modernised force as a number of new initiatives have been taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to modernise the Army, Navy and the Air Force.
Sitharaman also showered praise on the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering Director Colonel Ajay Kothiyal for training local youths to serve the armed forces, saying self-motivated people like him were a source of inspiration for everyone.
Families of Army veterans and those which had served the armed forces for generations were also honoured by Chief Minister TS Rawat in the presence of the Defence Minister and the Army chief Bipin Rawat.
(With inputs from PTI)