08:29 GMT +321 October 2018
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    India Opens its 100th Airport Just 40 Miles Away From Doklam

    India Opens Its 100th Airport Just 40 Miles Away From Doklam

    © Photo : Airport Authority of India
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    Apart from improving the connectivity of the landlocked state of Sikkim on the eastern frontier, the airport also holds immense strategic significance as it lies just 40 miles away from Doklam, a tiny plateau sandwiched between India, China and Bhutan, which witnessed a military standoff between India and China last year.

    Perched on a crag in the Himalayan mountain range, India's 100th airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. Considered an engineering marvel, erected at the height of 4,500ft above sea level and rugged terrain, the spectacular natural backdrop gives the Pakyong airport a picture-perfect finish.

    "The Indian Air Force (IAF) will also find this airport convenient for the landing and taking off of its aircraft," Junior Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh in India's Prime Minister Office said. 

    READ MORE: China, Bhutan Resume Border Talks a Year After Doklam Spat Involving India

    An official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said that state-of-the-art geotechnical engineering, including soil reinforcement and slope stabilization techniques, was used in the construction of the airport.

    The airport is expected to lend a major fillip to the economy of Sikkim that was otherwise connected to the mainland with a single lane highway.

    The air connectivity is also bound to prove a major boon to the armed forces, which had to otherwise rely on the single-lane highway to transport weapons and tanks to the border with China. Transport of heavy equipment and weapons systems took days at a time. Moreover, the highway remained disrupted through most of the rainy season, with landslides occurring frequently. The unavailability of a nearby airport during last year's military standoff exposed the vulnerabilities of Indian forces.

    • India Opens its 100th Airport Just 40 Miles Away From Doklam
      India Opens its 100th Airport Just 40 Miles Away From Doklam
      © Photo : Airport Authority of India
    • India Opens its 100th Airport Just 40 Miles Away From Doklam
      India Opens its 100th Airport Just 40 Miles Away From Doklam
      © Photo : Airport Authority of India
    • India Opens its 100th Airport Just 40 Miles Away From Doklam
      India Opens its 100th Airport Just 40 Miles Away From Doklam
      © Photo : Airport Authority of India
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    © Photo : Airport Authority of India
    India Opens its 100th Airport Just 40 Miles Away From Doklam

    READ MORE: Indian Gov't Source: Chinese Transgressions Continue in Sikkim Even After Doklam

    Sikkim joined the Indian federation in 1975 after the monarchy was deposed following a popular referendum. The entire state of Sikkim is connected to China, Bhutan and Nepal through eight mountain passes.

    Related:

    Indian Army Downplays Alleged Chinese Troop Activity in Disputed Doklam
    China Building Trenches and Helipads at Doklam - Indian Defense Minister
    Satellite Photos Confirm Chinese Military Buildup Just Outside Doklam
    India, China Avert Another Doklam-Like Standoff
    Tags:
    strategic decision, engineering project, connectivity, airport, Indian Armed Forces, Narendra Modi, Doklam, India, China, Bhutan
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