Army Chief says saving people from inaccessible areas is our top priority

The Army is expediting rescue operations in Uttarakhand as Met officials have forecast further rains from Sunday, Army Chief General Bikram Singh has said.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the Combined Graduation Parade held at the Air Force Academy here on Saturday, General Singh said the Army had increased the number of troops from 500 to about 6,200 in the flood-hit areas and relief measures were on in full swing.

“Troops will carry medicine, food and other relief material along with them. Saving the lives of people stuck in inaccessible areas is our top priority,” he said. The Army, in coordination with the Air Force and Home Ministry, would spare no effort in rescue operations, he said.

The Army would not deploy more forces in rescue work. “Pressing more troops could prove to be counter productive as more troops need more rations and equipment for their own consumption.”

“Challenging task”

“We have to speed up the operations before bad weather sets in, hampering the movement of Air Force helicopters,” he said. “It is a challenging task primarily due to the nature of the terrain. We are not facing any infrastructural problems currently and the operations will continue.”

Asked about threats to the Amarnath Yatra, he said threat perceptions had always been there. The Army, in coordination with State and Central police forces, would take all possible steps to safeguard the pilgrims, he said.

About the constitution of ‘Strike Corps’ along the Chinese border in the north-eastern States, he said it was in a very advanced stage of finalisation. “We will inform whenever a decision is taken.”