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No country backing Pakistan on Kashmir: Rajnath Singh in Ladakh

By Vishal S

New Delhi, Aug 28: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Ladakh today where he inaugurates the 26th 'Kisan-Jawan Vigyan Mela'.

This is the first visit of any Central Minister to the region after the PM Modi-led government on August 5 decided to scrap Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcate the state into two union territories.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

Addressing a DRDO event in Ladakh, the Defence Minister said Pakistan has no locus standi on Kashmir and no country is backing it on the "current issue", amid Islamabad's efforts to internationalise the Centre's move to abrogate provisions of Article 370.

Singh asked how can India talk to Pakistan when it keeps trying to destabilise India using terror. India wants to have a good neighbourly relationship with Pakistan, but it should first stop exporting terror to India, Singh said. He asserted that Pakistan has no locus standi on Kashmir.

"I want to ask Pakistan, when had Kashmir belonged to it. Kashmir was always part of India," he said.

"Pakistan should focus on addressing human rights violations and atrocities in Pakistan occupied Kashmir", the Union minister said. He said US Defence Secretary Mark Esper during a telephonic conversation told him that abrogation of provisions of Article 370 was an internal matter of India. "No country is with Pakistan on the current issue," Singh added.

People of Ladakh are said to be happy with the Centre's decision to make the region a separate union territory. Singh is expected to hold parleys with both locals and military officials deployed in the area, reports quoting the officials said. It must be recalled that China had opposed the BJP-led Centre's move to make Ladakh a union territory.

"Leaving New Delhi for Leh, where I shall be attending a programme organised by @DRDO_India (sic)," the Defence Minister tweeted this morning.

The minister would also be attending a fair in which research-generated farming technology would be showcased. Fair is being organised at the Defence Institute of High Altitude Research. The main purpose of the event is to share research-generated farming technology with locals of Ladakh.

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In June, Rajnath had visited Ladakh soon after assuming the post and laid a wreath at the Siachen War memorial.

What is the Vigyan Mela all about:

The Defence Minister inaugurated Vigyan Mela, which would showcase crops and grains suitable for growing in high altitude areas. The science fair is being organised at the Defence Institute of High Altitude Research.

A senior Defence Ministry official said the event is being organised to share research-generated farming technology with locals of Ladakh to make their life easier. The fair will showcase agricultural products developed by the Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO).

These include grains, cereals, fruits and seeds that have been developed through research to withstand adverse weather conditions in high altitude. An official said that after the fair, there will be the transfer of technology from the DRDO to civilians which is of use to them. The entire exercise is aimed at making the life of local citizens of Ladakh easier, a NewsonAir report said.

A NewsonAir reported quoted sources as saying that the Minister is scheduled to hold discussions with top military brass in Ladakh about the threat perception to the region from Pakistan following the withdrawal of special category status to Jammu and Kashmir.

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Defence Minister will be inaugurating the 26th Ladakhi Kisan Jawan Vigyan Mela at Defence Institute Of High Altitude Research ( DIHAR) during his visit. DIHAR is the research unit of DRDO in Ladakh.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be accompanied by DRDO Chief Satheesh Reddy. DIHAR is helping the farmers in revolutionising the Agriculture in cold desert region Ladakh.

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