India to Develop More Military Airfields Along China Border


Asia & Pacific

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New Delhi (Sputnik) — The LAC is the de facto border between India and China, and Beijing claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of Southern Tibet.

India’s Defense Secretary G. Mohan Kumar held a high-level review meeting with Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on work underway at Tawang. Kumar has asked the Arunachal administration to develop other advanced landing grounds in Dirang as well. Tawang is only 22 miles (35.4 km) away from the China border.

The Indian government had approved the reconstruction of seven Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG) in 2009 along the China border. Of the seven ALGs in Arunachal Pradesh which are being upgraded, works and services at five ALGs have been completed. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has operationalized Ziro, Along, Mechuka, Walong, and Passighat ALGs last year. It has landed Sukhoi and C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft at the ALGs, a report of the parliamentary panel on defense said.

The progress at Tawang has been slow, with only 39 percent of work completed by last December. Nonetheless, Tawang is under the control of the Indian Army and is being utilized for strategic purposes.

India had also planned to develop the Vijayanagar ALG but the work could not be taken up due to non-availability of road connectivity from Miao to Vijayanagar. Now that road projects are being laid in its neighborhood, work is expected to start at Vijayanagar as well, the report said.

The IAF has also identified 24 disused airfields for other purposes such as the deployment of long-range radars, weapon storage, and dispersal of strategic assets during operations, emergency recovery strips, deployment of AD weapons, ranges and helicopter operations.