18:03 GMT +320 June 2019
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    An Indian soldier stands guard in front of the first of the six C-130J Super Hercules, a US military aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin. (File)

    Biggest IAF Transport Aircraft Lands Near Chinese Border in Arunachal Pradesh

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    In a bid to enhance its reach at an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) along hostile international borders, the Indian Air Force (IAF) landed its largest transport aircraft, the C-130J, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh for the first time.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — A transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force's Eastern Air Command has successfully carried out day-and-night operations at the Tezu Advanced Landing Ground, situated in the border province of Arunachal Pradesh. Advanced Landing Grounds are airfields in very close proximity to enemy territory.

    "Two Dornier and one Avro in coordination with C-130 and AN-32 carried out validation of Casualty Evacuation and Disaster Management sorties," Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh, spokesperson for the IAF's Eastern Air Command, told Sputnik.

    "This effort of the Indian Air Force will boost the mobility of troops and materials in the strategically important north-east region many-fold," Ratnakar Singh added. 

    The landing of the C-130J is seen as part of the Indian Air Force's move to strengthen its military capabilities in the strategically key border state.

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    Earlier, the IAF landed a C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft in Arunachal Pradesh's Tuting airfield, near the India-Chinese border.

    Last week, an all women crew from the Hornbill (59th Squadron) of the Indian Air Force Eastern Air Command also landed for the first time at the Tezu ALG. The squadron is based in Guwahati and participates in operations involving air combat, troop deployment, airdrops, and provides support to special forces.

    India and China have numerous longstanding border disputes with each other. Earlier, troops from both countries were locked in a 73-day long standoff in Doklam in June 2017 after Indian forces stopped road construction by Chinese troops in the disputed area.

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    Although both sides agreed to maintain the status quo after the standoff, certain media reports suggest that China has been keeping its forces in north Doklam and is also building roads and helipads in the area. 

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    Tags:
    Aircraft, China, border, Indian Air Force (IAF), Arunachal Pradesh, India, China
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