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'Not advisable', says Defence Ministry as Parliament panel wants to visit Leh

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New Delhi, Oct 29: The Defence Ministry has said "it may not be advisable" for Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to visit Leh next month, given the standoff with China along the LAC.

Not advisable, says Defence Ministry as Parliament panel wants to visit Leh

In a letter sent on Wednesday, the Ministry said "it may not be advisable" for the MPs to visit, given the standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The PAC wanted to visit Leh as it's examining a CAG report which said the troops stationed in areas like Siachen and Ladakh faced an acute shortage of high-altitude clothing and equipment, including snow goggles, because of delays in procurement.

Notably, the PAC, headed by the Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, had last month got clearance from Speaker Om Birla to visit Ladakh to meet the soldiers.

The PAC had initially decided to visit Ladakh on October 28 and 29. But some MPs on the panel sought a change in dates, citing the Assembly elections in Bihar, by-elections in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, and the prevailing Covid-19 situation.

The PAC then revised its plan, and decided to visit Leh from November 8 to 10, instead. It sent the revised schedule to the Defence Ministry, Army, and Lok Sabha secretariat.

But the Defence Ministry has informed the PAC that it may not be advisable to visit Ladakh now, since the Army is fully engaged with the situation on the border.

"The present situation with soldiers from both sides in close proximity; all officers and men are involved in ensuring full preparedness, to prevent any escalation in the situation.

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    Accordingly, it may not be advisable for such a delegation comprising VVIPs to visit Leh, Ladakh at this juncture. A fresh date will be intimated as and when there is some disengagement on the ground," a letter dated October 28 from the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) of the Ministry of Defence said.

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