Rajnath Singh to perform Shastra Puja with soldiers in Sikkim on Sunday
Defence minister Rajnath Singh will perform Shastra Puja - worshipping of weapons - on then occasion of Dussehra on Sunday with the soldiers of the Indian Army.
Singh will perform the puja with one of the local units deployed in Sikkim near the China border. He embarked on a two-day visit to West Bengal and Sikkim on Saturday.
Shastra Puja is a ritual performed by the Hindus annually around the time of Dussehra. Singh had performed the puja in France last year, on the first Rafale fighter jet India formally received.
He emblazoned the aircraft with an Om tilak and laid flowers and a coconut as part of the ritual. The defence minister also took a 35-minute sortie in the two-seater jet.
Singh is visiting Sikkim to boost the morale of Indian troops deployed against the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at the border. He will review the deployment of troops at the borders and assess their preparedness against the PLA.
The defence minister visited the Headquarters of 33 Corps at Sukna in Darjeeling on Saturday where he said that the country’s boundaries are secure due to its soldiers.
“India always wants good relations with all its neighbouring countries, we have always made an effort for the same. But our jawans have had to sacrifice their lives from time to time to protect our borders, integrity and universality,” he said.
“This time in Galwan, our 20 jawans of Bihar Regiment sacrificed themselves to protect our motherland...The nation and its boundaries are secure due to you,” he added.
The defence minister was accompanied by Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane.
India and China are engaged in a border standoff since April-May this year. While the Ladakh sector has been the focus of the current round of border tensions with China, a tense confrontation between Indian and Chinese soldiers took place in north Sikkim in early May, just days after a brawl between rival troops on the northern bank of Pangong Tso.
The standoff, currently in its sixth month, has taken India-China ties to a new low, with troops even firing warning shots at friction points in August-September. This was the first instance of shots being fired along the LAC since October 1975.