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Ahead of PM visit, Army chief carries out aerial reconnaissance of forward areas in Jammu

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Jammu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to celebrate this year’s Diwali with army soldiers in Rajouri district on Thursday, highly places sources said.

They said that PM is expected to visit some army establishments where he will spend several hours with the soldiers as part of Diwali celebration.

Two years ago also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Diwali in Rajouri wherein he reached at Ace of Spades Division Headquarter in Rajouri and met with army soldiers as well as police personnel and exchanged sweets with them and celebrated Diwali.

Meanwhile, ahead of PM’s visit, Army Chief General M M Naravane carried out an aerial reconnaissance of forward areas on Wednesday and was briefed about the prevailing security situation along the Line of Control (LOC) in the Jammu region, officials said.

This is his second visit to Jammu division in the past over two weeks amid an ongoing operation against terrorists in a forest belt in twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri, which is the longest in the recent past that has entered 24th day on Wednesday.

Gen Naravane arrived in Jammu on a two-day visit to review the security situation and operational preparedness, and immediately flew to Rajouri district, the officials said.

“General MM Naravane #COAS (Chief of Army Staff) is on a visit to Jammu region wherein he will be given an update on security situation & operational preparedness. #COAS will visit forward areas & interact with troops and commanders on ground,” the Additional Directorate General of Public Information (ADGPI) of the Indian Army tweeted.

The ADGPI said the chief of Army staff carried out an aerial reconnaissance of forward areas in the Jammu region and was also briefed by the commanders on ground on the prevailing security situation along the LoC.

Earlier, the Army chief conducted a two-day tour of the Jammu region on October 18 and 19, and reviewed the ground situation and the ongoing counter-infiltration operations.

He had also visited the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, where a massive operation to track down militants hiding in the forest areas of Mendhar, Surankote and Thanamandi has been going on since October 11.

The operation started in Surankote forest on October 11, following the killing of five soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO), and was subsequently extended to Mendhar to neutralise the fleeing militants where another encounter took place on October 14, leaving four soldiers, including another JCO, killed.

Pakistani militant Zia Mustafa, who was shifted from Kot Bhalwal Central Jail Jammu to Mendhar on police remand for questioning in connection with the operation, was killed when the security forces accompanying him to identify a hideout came under fire allegedly from hiding militants on October 24.

Police have arrested a militant associate allegedly having links with Mustafa and the militant handlers across the border, while over a dozen others are also being questioned in connection with providing logistic support to the terrorists in the forest belt.

Rajouri and Poonch in the Jammu region have witnessed a rise in infiltration attempts since June this year, resulting in the killing of nine terrorists in separate encounters.

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