Srinagar: – Jammu-Kashmir administration and the Indian Army have signed a memorandum of understanding. The airstrip at Kishtwar, in Jammu and Kashmir, will be made operational under the Udaan scheme of the union government. The significance of the decision increases further as the Kishtwar district lies close to the Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh borders. Also, activation of the Kishtwar airstrip, at a time when tension is reigning between India and China in Ladakh, becomes a significant development.
On Monday, the agreement was signed in the presence of Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh, Chief of Northern Command of Indian Army, Lieutenant General YK Joshi and Lieutenant General Harsh Gupta of the 16 Corps. As per the agreement, the Kishtwar airstrip will be made operational after necessary repairs. Kishtwar is 210 kilometres from Jammu. The development proposal for the Kishtwar airstrip was pending since 2018. After the airstrip becomes operational, the locals also will benefit along with the military.
Connectivity with many of the districts in Kashmir is lost at the peak of the winter season. In these situations, this airstrip will be beneficial for the soldiers as well as locals. Any sick person from Kishtwar has to be brought to Jammu for any major treatment. This takes 8 hours. Manoj Sinha said that after the development of the Kishtwar airstrip, the time would be reduced to half an hour. Sinha added that this would lead to the social and economic development of Kishtwar.
Meanwhile, the Apache combat helicopters were seen hovering over Kishtwar in the first week of September. The military movements in Kishtwar during the India-China conflict were sending chills down the local people’s spines. But they were relieved after being informed that these activities were a part of an exercise. Whereas, it was reported that two Apache helicopters had landed in Kishtwar in the first week of September. A few days ago, the Army had conducted an inspection of the Kishtwar airstrip.