New Delhi [India]: After an army truck on Saturday fell into a deep gorge, leaving 9 soldiers, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) dead, Lt Gen Sanjay Kulkarni (retd), a defence expert, on Sunday such incidents are avoidable.
Speaking to media on Sunday, Kulkarni said, “It is an extremely sad incident. However, I feel such incidents are avoidable. I am sure that an inquiry will be conducted to find out how the incident took place. The probe will reveal if the driver was at fault.”
He said with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place and the trucks and other army vehicles in fine fettle, such incidents were avoidable.
“With SOPs in place and the vehicles in good shape, such incidents ought to be avoided. The drivers also receive regular briefings on the SOPs,” he added.
Also pointing to road accidents being a perennial concern in the country, the defence expert said, “I think a lot of lives are lost cheaply due to road accidents. In fact, the majority of deaths in India are from or because of road accidents. In the Army, too, many lives are lost to road accidents. Casualties in such mishaps are twelve times more than lives lost in combat. This is definitely a cause for concern.”
“My heart goes out to the families of the soldiers we lost on Saturday. We should look at ways to avoid such incidents in future,” he added.
Earlier, on Saturday, nine soldiers were killed and one critically injured after their vehicle fell into a gorge in Ladakh.
According to officials, the accident occurred around 6.30 pm. “The troops were moving from Karu garrison to Kyari near Leh,” an official informed.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh condoled the loss of lives in the accident, saying, “Saddened by the loss of Indian Army personnel due to an accident near Leh in Ladakh. We will never forget their exemplary service to our nation. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. The injured personnel have been rushed to the Field Hospital. Praying for their speedy recovery.”
Home Minister Amit Shah also took to his official handle on, X, formerly Twitter, to post, “Deeply saddened by the tragic road accident in Ladakh in which we lost our valiant soldiers, as their vehicle fell into a gorge. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. My sincerest condolences to them. May the injured recover at the earliest.”