SRINAGAR:(APS)Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a rare visit to the Siachen glacier in the disputed Kashmir region Thursday to rally the morale of troops after recent deadly border clashes with Pakistan.
According to AFP that as India celebrated the festival of Diwali, Modi travelled to the remote glacier to greet soldiers based at what has been dubbed the world’s highest battleground ahead of a visit to the state capital which was devastated by floods last month.
In a post on his Twitter feed, Modi said it was “my good fortune that I will be able to spend time with our brave soldiers on this special day”.
“Am going to Siachen with a message from each and every Indian to our soldiers — that we stand shoulder to shoulder with you!” he added.
Television footage later showed Modi meeting and greeting troops in Siachen which has previously been the scene of fierce fighting between India and Pakistan.
Both countries administer parts of Kashmir but claim sovereignty over the whole of the picturesque Himalayan region which has been a running sore between the two sides ever since independence.
At least 20 civilians died in cross-border skirmishes in Kashmir earlier this month, with both sides blaming the other for provoking the firing.
After his trip to Siachen, Modi will head to Srinagar which last month bore the brunt of the region’s worst flooding in some six decades.
More than 450 people were killed in India and Pakistan when the floods swept through Kashmir and Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The provincial government in Indian-held Kashmir has been heavily criticised for its response to the flooding and shopkeepers were observing a strike on Thursday to mark Modi’s visit.
Provincial polls are scheduled to take place before the end of the year and Modi’s visit has been dismissed by opponents as an election stunt.
However, many observers say that the elections are likely to be postponed as a result of the floods.