Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is visiting Jammu and Kashmir to take stock of the security condition and examine readiness of soldiers on borders. Sitharaman is also expected to visit Siachen on 30 September. The defense minister may meet senior commanders as well during her visit. This will be Sitharaman’s first visit to the state after she assumed power.
Her visit to the state comes days after union minister Jitender Singh said there is a necessity to “change the discourse” around Jammu and Kashmir. Singh had said that the sole issue was “retrieving” the part which is under the illegal occupation of Pakistan.
“There is need to change the discourse (on J&K) for future generations. We have to change the agenda. There is no such issue as Kashmir issue. It is as much a part of India as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or any other state,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
“The only issue if at all is how to retrieve a part of Kashmir which is under the illegal occupation of Pakistan for the past 70 years and restore the Valley in the same format as was handed over by Maharaja Hari Singh,” Singh added.
Sitharaman recently held talks with US Defence Secretary James Mattis on cross-border terrorism when Mattis was in India days back. They held comprehensive talks covering the entire gamut of the bilateral defense associations. “The situation in our neighborhood and the growing menace of cross-border terrorism were discussed in depth. There is growing convergence in the approaches of both our countries on this issue,” Sitharaman had said.