New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday left for Ladakh where he is slated to visit forward areas in the region with Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and inaugurate a strategic bridge on Shyok River.

Singh is expected to inaugurate the Colonel Chewang Rinchen Bridge built between Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh today.

"Leaving New Delhi for Ladakh. Shall visit the forward areas with the CoAS, General Bipin Rawat. Looking forward to attending the inaugural ceremony of a strategically important bridge over Shyok River," the Defence Minister tweeted.

The bridge will reduce travel time by about half and help in the development of border areas and villages across Shyok River. It is 45 km east of Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, Army sources said.

The bridge, built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), can accommodate vehicles of 70 tonnes class and is 4.5 metres wide.

Colonel Chewang Rinchen was awarded Maha Vir Chakra in 1952.

During the visit, the Defence Minister is expected to review the security situation in the region which shares borders with both China and Pakistan.

Singh is scheduled to visit Daulat Beg Oldie and other areas on the LAC.

The visit comes at a time when the Indian Army carried out a major exercise codenamed 'Chang Thang' in the high altitude areas of the Ladakh region close to the China border.

During the exercise, India had deployed a large number of infantry troops along with frontline tank regiments which have been deployed there in recent years.