12:37 GMT +327 May 2019
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    Indian army soldiers walk along the line of control at the Indo China border in Bumla at an altitude of 15,700 feet (4,700 meters) above sea level in Arunachal Pradesh, India. (File)

    India Upgrades Military Airlift Capability Just 18 Miles Away From China Border

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    Amid simmering relations with China, India successfully lands US-made heavy military transport aircraft at Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground for real time troop support

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Gone are the days when India used to face difficulties in supplying military equipment and troops in the tough Himalayan terrain bordering China.

    Six months after the operationalization of Mechuka Advanced Ground, the Indian Air Force has successfully landed its most capable heavy military transport aircraft there, the C-17 Globemaster. With its successful trial, India can supply necessary equipment to its forces within an hour in comparison to the 48 hours it takes by road.

    “This is a quantum leap. The airlift capability facilitates the speedy transfer of men and material in this rugged terrain, interspersed with valleys and high mountain ranges that inhibit road connectivity. In the event of a disaster, C-17 operations to the remote Advanced Landing Ground can enhance the speed and quality of the national relief effort,” read a statement released by India’s Ministry of Defense.

    Mechuka was operationalized in May this year after it was closed down at the end of the 1962 Indo-China war. It is at an elevation of 6,200 feet with a landing surface of only 4,200 feet. The Indian government has plans to validate airlift operations to other ALGs in the region very soon.

    In 2009, India  chose eight sites as part of its project to modernize or upgrade its ALGs. This year, India reactivated two upgraded ALGs at Ziro and Along in Arunachal Pradesh.

    India is also modernizing 10 airfields in the eastern part of India, which would augment the capabilities of the Indian Air Force in case of a stand-off with other countries.

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