Thiruvananthapuram, July 3 : Former Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Friday made light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to forward areas in Ladakh and said that "it is common for Indian PMs to visit forward areas" as it gives a tremendous boost to the defence forces.
"Today's visit to Leh by Modi is a good one; he met the injured soldiers. But if one looks back, then Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi visited areas of (border) friction over a dozen times and one needs to see it (Modi visit) in the same way," the senior Congress leader remarked.
Antony has held the Defence Minister's post for a record tenure from 2006 to 2014 in both the UPA governments at the Centre.
"In 1971, Indira Gandhi along with the then Defence Minister visited the same place which Modi visited on Friday. Visits like these will be a huge morale booster for all in the defence forces," said Antony.
He said that China has since made huge advancements into areas which they never ever did in the past, like in the Galwan Valley.
"The need of the hour is for a status quo ante; China should go back and if it does not they should be ousted from there," Antony remarked.
Amid the ongoing tension on the India-China border in eastern Ladakh, Modi paid a visit to Leh and forward locations on Friday morning to review the security situation, barely 18 days after a violent stand-off between troops of the two countries.
-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text