The ramp of the American-made C-130J Super Hercules opens slowly as the four-engine transport aircraft comes to a steady airspeed high above the icy mountains of Ladakh.
The dark cargo hold then brightens up with ambient light. Within seconds, a paratrooper wearing an oxygen mask runs towards the edge of the ramp, gives a brief thumbs-up, and then jumps. One by one more paratroopers follow. Behind them the mountains of Ladakh roll by slowly.
This was one of the activities on display for Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during his visit to Ladakh today. Mr Singh addressed troops at Lukung post near Pangong Lake, 43 km from the area along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) where Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a violent face-off on June 15.
Lukung is a combined post, where the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) are stationed.
In visuals, the last paratrooper to jump out of the C-130J Super Hercules is seen gesturing to the camera. His back is towards the open sky. After a few seconds he releases himself from the ramp and floats away on his back.
Mr Singh is on a two-day visit to Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army chief General MM Naravane accompanied him.
“India is the only country in the world that has given a message of peace to the world. We have never attacked a nation and have never staked claim to any country’s land. India believes in the message – ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (world is one family),” the Defence Minister said today during his address.
After reviewing operational preparedness on the LAC, the de facto border between India and China, Mr Singh flew to Srinagar to review the situation on the Line of Control.