Indian Air Force ramps up infrastructure in North East
As China continues to make inroads into northern Tibet with a massive deployment of military equipment, the Indian Army is scaling up its military infrastructure in bordering areas.
With the muscle flexing between the two countries running into its second month amid the Doklam standoff, there has been a lot of action in North East India as aircraft, machinery, weaponry and men are flooding into the mountainous terrain.
Moving supplies to the frontline
The Union government has approved the deployment of the Brahmos missile's Block-III version in Arunachal Pradesh to counter China's huge build-up of military infrastructure all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control.
Strategic roads along the border with China are also being worked on. The Army has also deployed BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles in Arunachal and Sukhoi Su-30MKI at bases in Assam.
The focus on upgrading aircraft capabilities is massive, an Army official said. It is an urgent requirement for quick mobilisation of men and machinery in the rugged terrain along the India-China border in Arunachal in case of any emergency.
“High mountain ranges negate the possibility of men and material deployment in quick time. Keeping this in mind, we're focusing on upgrading our flying capability,” the official said.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is upgrading eight remote Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in Arunachal, namely Aalo, Tuting, Mechuka, Tawang, Ziro, Pasighat, Walong and Bijaynagar, he added.
The official also said the Army's aviation squadron would be operational in Likabali in Assam from October onwards and that the indigenous armed Rudra choppers would be housed there. The Army's first armed helicopter unit in the North East would have 10 aircraft, he said. A large heliport would also be made operational in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang by September.
The IAF is likely to fly its Mi-series of Russian choppers as well as the indigenously developed advanced lightweight helicopters from Tawang.
In terms of missiles being fitted into the aircraft, the Army is also developing BrahMos-A - an air launched version of the BrahMos. It would weigh 2.5 tonnes and will carry a warhead of 300kg.
The first demonstration flight of Sukhoi Su-30MKI carrying BrahMos-A was conducted last year. IAF is in the process of equipping 40 Su-30MKIs
with BrahMos. The Army has moved Su-30MKI squadrons near China border.
The official said arming Su-30MKI with BrahMos-A missiles will allow the IAF to carry out attack deep inside Tibet and Chinese province of Yunan.