Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to Ladakh on August 12 is seen as strategically and politically significant. He is also likely to visit Siachen. It will be the second visit of the Prime Minister to the state in about a month. Modi is scheduled to dedicate the 44 MW Chutak hydroelectric project in Kargil district and the 45 MW Nimoo Bazgo project in Leh district to nation.
The Chutak project was commissioned by the national hydroelectric power corporation (NHPC) in July 2012 and the Nimoo Bazgo in June 2013.
The Prime Minister is also scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh transmission line, a project already sanctioned by the Centre and is likely to be completed in next two years. It will connect the Ladakh region with the northern grid.
Leh, strategically important, has witnessed many incidents of incursions by the Chinese army. Modi, by visiting the mountainous border region too early into his office, is likely to send a message that the country is serious about securing its borders.
Even though, there is no official programme declared of his public address, the security watchers are keeping a close tabs on what Modi will say. Modi has in the past talked tough on China.
Addressing an election rally at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh, he had said that China would have to leave behind its mindset of expansion.
“Incursions have become almost a regular phenomena though not all of them are reported. A sense is sinking among the locals that India is not talking tough with China. It will be very important to watch what the Prime Minister will say during his visit,” said a senior security officer, wishing not to named.
By personally dedicating these two projects, which are not quite big, Modi will send the message that Centre is sensitive to the developmental needs of the region, which had till now nursed a sense of being left out.
The political significance of the visit is on account of the coming assembly elections, likely to be held by the end of this year. The BJP had won the Ladakh parliamentary seat comprising four assembly seats and the two parliamentary seats from the Jammu region, with 36 assembly seats.
The BJP has been setting its eye on the 44-plus seats of the total 87 assembly seats in the state. The party has been mainly relying on the Jammu and Ladakh regions to get the maximum seats. It is hoping to do fairly good in the Ladakh region and is also making its base in the Kargil region, the only Shia majority district in the state. Modi is also scheduled to visit Kargil.
The state unit of the BJP is banking on Modi to get its highest ever tally. It has planned a series of the public meeting of the Prime Minister in the run-up to the assembly elections. His visit to Ladakh is also seen as setting the ball rolling for the party’s election plan for the state.