President shares meal with jawans at Gajraj Corps

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Tezpur, Oct 21 (UNI) A meal with ''her men'', sweets for those at forward areas and enquiries of their well-being marked the visit of Armed Forces Supreme Commander, President Pratibha Patil, to the 4 Gajraj Corps headquarters here today.

In the first-of-its-kind gesture from a President, Ms Patil participated in a ''Barakhana'' in the 4 Corps headquarters here when she feasted on vegetarian fare with jawans and officers together. Tuesday being a ''no meat-fish'' day for the Army units only helped please the President's pure vegetarian diet.

Ms Patil also interacted with the personnel before the feast, asking them about their welfare and their families.

Not to forget those posted at the forward areas along the Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh, controlled by 4 Corps, the Supreme Commander also sent 20 boxes of sweets for them.

Going through an exhibition at the function venue, Ms Patil took note of the achievements of the 4 Corps, including the mass success the Corps had attained in counter-insurgency operations.

She asked at length about the peace initiatives, pursued by the Army, along with its military operations, with the Army officials explaining to her the ''iron fist in velvet glove'' policy of the 4 Corps.

Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor and 4 Corps Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal escorted the President around the exhibition, displaying the success saga of the Army.

Earlier, the President also addressed a Sainik Sanmelan and lauded the Army's success in counter-insurgency as well as guarding the frontiers.

'' Our security forces have been entrusted with the challenging task of fighting insurgency and they have successfully carried out this responsibility and helped the state governments in this regard, '' Ms Patil said.

Acknowledging the immense hardships the personnel had to face in their duties, she said, '' The government is aware of your hardships and sacrifices and is endeavouring to minimise your problems and provide more facilities. '' The President also reaffirmed the forces' preparedness to tackle any situation and said, '' Our Army is among the best and we are well equipped to face any situation. '' UNI SG SJC PKC1655

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