Armed by the unwavering support from their families, the Indian Army's Ladakh Scouts, who are better known as the 'sons of soil', are at the forefront of the India-China border standoff at the east Ladakh.Ever since the Ladakh Scouts was formed in 1963 after the Sino-India war of 1962, several families have been sending their wards to guard the nation.
The Dorjoi family, which has two sons guarding the nation, said despite not having spoken to them for last many days, they are not afraid and are ready to face any eventuality.
"I have two sons in Ladakh Scouts.
We are not in touch these days.
As a parent I am not afraid.
Had I been scared I wouldn't have sent them to the Army.
A nation can't be guarded if one gets afraid of death," the father of soldier T Dorjoi told ANI.Even during the ongoing tensions they remained undeterred.
They also said the family is planning to send their third child to the Army.
Seeing his brothers protecting the nation, Stanzin, who is preparing himself to join the Ladakh Scouts, said, "I feel proud that my brothers are serving the nation, but I also miss them.
I will also join Ladakh Scouts and bring pride to my country and family." This sentiment is common among other families as well.
On June 1 1963, Ladakh Scouts was raised by merging the 7th and 14th battalions of Jammu and Kashmir Militia.
During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the Ladakh Scouts launched a brilliant attack in Northern sector and got the Battle honour 'Turtuk' for their excellent performance.The soldiers were also the part of Operation Meghdoot at Siachen.
The Ladakh Scout soldiers are recruited from Ladakh because they are acclimatised with the treacherous mountain terrain, making them lethal at heights that are inhospitable.
131 young soldiers joined Ladakh Scouts regiment on September 26. Attestation Parade was held at the Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre in Leh to mark the entry. The recruits hail from far-flung areas of Ladakh. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was conducted without the inclusion of parents of the recruits.
Renowned poet Phunsuk Ladakhi while speaking to ANI said that we don't want war but we are not scared of anything. He further sang his composition 'Zinda Kaum', the regimental song of Ladakh Scouts. Poet Phunsuk Ladakhi is known for his compositions on armed forces. "We are army without dress; the strength of the nation comes from the civilians. We don't want war but we are not scared of anything," he said.
Indian Army has reiterated that it will welcome those local militants in Kashmir who choose to shun the path of violence. General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15 Corps Lieutenant General BS Raju on October 26 appealed to the misguided youth to shun militancy, which he said was not a "one-way route", adding that Army will welcome those wanting to return to mainstream. Lieutenant General Raju made the appeal while talking to reporters on the sidelines of Yusmarg festival in Budgam district of central Kashmir. "I appeal to youth who are ready to shun militancy to return to their homes as the environment is favourable for them for starting a peaceful and dignified life," Lieutenant General Raju told reporters at Yusmarg Mela organised by Army and was attended by some 3500 people of all age groups. Numerous events were organised at the mela which included sports and cultural programs catering to the interest of youth who said they enjoyed participating in the mela hosted by the Army.
Chinar Corps celebrated the 74th Infantry Day at Badamibagh Cantonment in Jammu and Kashmir's Srinagar on October 27. Several Army officials paid tribute to slain soldiers. Infantry Day is observed as a remembrance of the first military event of independent India, when the Indian Army repelled the first attack on the Indian soil on October 27, 1947, in the Kashmir Valley. While speaking to ANI, Lt. General BS Raju, GOC Chinar Corps said, "I congratulate infantry jawans deployed in tough terrains and hinterlands, they can reach where no one can reach. Situation has improved (in Kashmir), youth should use it. Young ones should focus on studies, others should work and not choose wrong path. It's my appeal- If you've picked up arms and shot a video, doesn't mean you are a terrorist, you can come back."
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army Chief General MM Naravane took the integrity pledge to mark the beginning of the Vigilance Awareness Week. Both of them reiterated that they would lead by example exhibiting integrity in personal behaviour and always act in the public interest. They also swore to perform tasks in an honest and transparent manner, which are the qualities synonymous with the morals and tradition of the Indian Armed Forces. The Central Vigilance Commission in its efforts to ensure a policy of 'Zero Tolerance towards Corruption', has decided that Vigilance Awareness Week will be observed from October 27 to November 2. Watch the full video for all the details.
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One of the highlights of the latest edition of the India-US 2+2 dialogue was the signing of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement. The pact, signed during the visit of US Secretaries of State and Defence - Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper - to meet their Indian counterparts - Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh - in Delhi, will provide Indian forces sensitive data from American military satellites. This is being pegged as a major boost for India amid the stand-off with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. Air Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja (retd) and former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal help decode the significance of this agreement in a conversation with Hindustan Times' Aditi Prasad. Watch the full video for more.
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India and US signed the historic Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement or BECA, which gives India access to classified geo-spatial data as well as critical information having significant military applications from the US. At a press conference after the 2+2 meeting, India and US lashed out at China over its transgressions with the US committing to stand by India. ‘The United States will stand with the people of India as they confront threats to their sovereignty and to their liberty,’ Pompeo said at the press conference. ‘Our leaders, and our citizens, see with increasing clarity that the Chinese Communist Party is no friend to democracy, the rule of law, transparency, nor to freedom of navigation, the foundation of a free and open, prosperous Indo-Pacific,’ he added. The crucial defence pact comes as India & China are engaged in a standoff at the LAC in Ladakh and a week ahead of presidential polls in the US. Watch the video for all the details.
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As tension between India and China persists along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, top members of the Donald Trump administration arrived in India for the high-level 2+2 dialogue. US Secretaries of State and Defence, Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper, reached Delhi on October 26, 2020. The 2+2 talks have been scheduled between Pompeo, Esper and their Indian counterparts Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh, on October 27. After his arrival, Esper was accorded Guard of Honour at South Block before he held a meeting with Singh. Chiefs of Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, were present at the meeting. Ahead of his trip, Pompeo had alluded to the China agenda on the table. Watch the full video for more.
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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on October 12 inaugurated 8 bridges in Leh. Border Road Organization Chief Engineer, Vijayak said that the newly inaugurated Nimmu Bridge will improve Army's strategic movement and will make economic benefits for locals. BRO Chief Engineer said, "Earlier Bridge could bear 24 tonnes weight. Nimmu Bridge can bear 70 tonnes. It's one of three new bridges which made all bridges on NH-I, 70-tonne load-bearing bridges. It improves Army's strategic movements and makes potential economic benefits for locals." Vijayak further informed that 7 other bridges have also been inaugurated. "7 other bridges have also been inaugurated today. Of these, 1 is on the road which connects Leh to Manali, 2 bridges are on the road to the Siachen base camp while 1 in the Kargil district and 1 on the Daulat Beg Oldie road," he added.