Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari Sunday visited Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir amid a rousing welcome in the cold desert region of the state.
Ansari is the first vice president of the country to visit the Kargil sector, bordering Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir, where Indian and Pakistani forces had engaged in a bitter conflict a decade ago.
Accompanied by Governor N.N. Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Ansari was given a rousing welcome by the people of Kargil.
Various political, social and religious deputations met the vice president and presented their demands before him.
They sought construction of a tunnel across the Zojilla Hill to keep the cold desert region of the state connected with the rest of the country round the year.
Heavy winter snow closes the Zojilla Pass cutting off the region's road link for nearly seven months each year.
The demands also included upgradation of the Kargil airport and opening of the Kargil-Skardu road on the Line of Control (LoC) for transport.
Ansari also addressed soldiers and lauded their valour in defending the borders of the country under extremely inhospitable conditions in the region.
A Pakistani army incursion in Kargil in the summer of 1999 had led to a war-like confrontation between the two nuclear armed neighbours till the situation was defused.