A two-day, 170-km-long cycling expedition organised by Army with participants from all walks of life ended Monday at Nagrota military station here, strengthening the bond between civilians and security forces, besides their efforts to restore peace in the state.
Be it Sonali Sharma, the sole women participant of 51-member expedition team or civilian participant Sukreet Gupta, they all lauded the Army for its efforts to deepen the bond between civilians and forces, besides giving them a chance to be part of the adventure.
The expedition with the theme cycling for peace and prosperity and organised by the Army's counter-insurgency force 'Romeo', was received at Nagrota military station here by General Officer Commanding of 16 corps Lt Gen Paramjit Singh on the eve of Army day this morning.
The two-day expedition with 51 participants including officers from Army, civil administration, police, Central Armed Police Forces covered the 170-km distance over a period of two days.
An 11-member team of civilian cycling enthusiasts affiliated with 'JK Randonneurs' including Sharma too was part of the expedition.
Lauding the Army for roping her in the expedition, which was flagged off on January 12 at Palma in Rajouri district, Sonali Sharma also urged women folk to to come forward and show their talent in every field.
We faced no problem during the expedition. My special thanks to Indian Army which provided me an opportunity to be part of the expedition. It works as a great morale booster, especially for a girl, being part of an Army-led expedition. I want to send a message to every woman that they need to come forward and show their talent in every field, Sharma said.
Four Army officers including a colonel and an assistant commandant of BSF besides several government officials, students and policemen were part of the team which successfully completed the cycling expedition.
Lt Gen Paramjit Singh interacted with the participants and felicitated them with medals and certificates of participation.
The effort of the participants is praise worthy in view of the challenging conditions like crossing the Kalidar ridge. The aim of the expedition was to foster civil-military relationship to ensure sustained peace in the region, said Romeo Force GOC Major General P S Bajwa.
He said the expedition provided an opportunity to the Army personnel to come out of their routine duty and mix up with civilians.
Sukreet Gupta, another civilian participant, said he was happy to be part of the expedition for peace and prosperity.
He appealed to the people, especially youths, to extend their cooperation to the military in its endeavour to restore complete peace in the state.
The aim of the cycling expedition was to foster the bond between army, civil administration, central armed police forces, and civilian population and also to celebrate the spirit of Army Day. Although counter-insurgency force Romeo has been actively involved in people-centric, perception management activities, but cycling expedition was first of its kind in the region, said an Army officer.
He said the expedition definitely gave the force an opportunity to know the sister organisations better and strengthen the civil military relations.
He said the expedition also commemorates the sacrifices made by army personnel, central armed police forces and locals in establishing peace and tranquillity in the state while celebrating the spirit of Army Day by cycling shoulder to shoulder.
The expedition also provided an opportunity to comprehend the benefits of cycling for health and environment, he said.
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