General Maharaj Shri Rajendrasinhji,
D.S.O., C-in-C., Indian Army, recently visited the Leh Garrison. This was
his first official visit to Ladakh and Kargil.
The Army Chief was accompanied by
Maj. Gen. Jai Singh, Commander of Indian troops in the Valley. At the Leh
airfield, the Commander-in-Chief and the party, who flew in an I.A.F.
plane, were received by Shri Kaushak Bakula, Head Lama of Ladakh, and the
Shri Kaushak Bakula presented a
scarf (sharpa) to Gen. Rajendrasinhji as a token of his personal respect
for the Army Chief. Right from the airfield to the city the streets were
decorated with arches and buntings and as the Army Chief passed, men and
women lining both sides of the road showered flowers on him and raised
slogans of "C-in-C., Zindabad", "Bakshi Wazarat
In the afternoon, Gen.
Rajendrasinhji paid a visit to Spituk Gumpa where he was received by Shri
kaushak Bakula, who took him round the monastery. The same evening a civic
reception was arranged by the citizens of Leh.
Ladakhis, dressed in most colourful
costumes and headgears typical of 'Ladakh, staged folk dances which were
very much appreciated by the Army Chief. The latter distributed sweets and
other essential articles among children.
A welcome address was presented to
Gen. Rajendrasinhji in the course of which it was stated:
"Ladakh is a frontier district
of Kashmir which in itself is a frontier State of the Indian Union. It is
but natural, therefore, that it should claim special attention of the Army
Chief who is essentially the custodian of the country's freedom.
"Ladakh in recent years, owes a
lot to the contact of the Indian Army. Apart from creating a feeling of
security in the district, the soldiers, of whom we are happily proud, have
befriended us in many ways, affording relief to the sick and the
destitutes and elevating the people from the economic depression into
which they had fallen for various reasons, not the least of which was the
cessation of Central Asian trade and depredations wrought by the raiders.
"The advent of the Indian Air
Force planes has in a way transformed the face of things. We know it is
just the beginning of a new era of peace and prosperity, which the
district is looking forward to as an integral part of the Indian
General Maharaj Shri Rajendrasinhji,
replying to the welcome address, thanked the local population and said :
"I am very glad to be here with
you and thank you for the kind words which you have said today. I am
particularly happy to see that the local Militia, which is composed of
Ladakhis, are fit and are discharging their obligations dutifully. I trust
more and more men will be coming forward to follow this excellent example
of selfless service set by the Militia.
"I am deeply impressed by the
cordial relations which exist between the Army and the civil population. I
also note with satisfaction that you are conscious of the security and
other help that the Army is giving you. Let this cooperation continue
whole-heartedly. I would like to assure you that the Army is here for your
help and protection and it will not fail you. They will carry out all that
is expected of them. They deserve your whole-hearted co-operation which,
as I have said before, is forthcoming from your side in great
During his stay in Leh, the
Commander-in-Chief inspected troops in the Camp area. He expressed
appreciation of the work which they were carrying on under the most
The Army Chief flew to Kargil. There
he inspected troops and enquired about the arrangements for the coming
winter months. He went round and saw for himself their accommodation,
winter clothing and other amenities.
On his return journey by road, the Army Chief
inspected Units stationed at various places from Kargil to Srinagar.