08:51 GMT +321 November 2019
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    Indian Fighter Jets Conduct Drills at Minor Airfields to Be Combat Ready in Case of War with China

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian military has been holding high-level military exercises in the Himalayas near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since September. The frequency of these exercises has increased after reports of a military build-up by China since the Doklam stand-off in 2017. The LAC is the de-facto border between India and China.

    The Eastern Command of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has announced major exercises across the airfields near the China border to remain combat-ready in case of conflict.

    The IAF deployed its mainstream Su-30MKI fighter jet, among others during the exercises, the Defence Ministry stated on Wednesday.

    The exercise will take place in two phases from 16-19 October and later from 29 October to 1 November.

    The visuals released by the Defence Ministry revealed its Su-30MKI and Hawk aircraft operating from dispersed locations including Dimapur, Imphal, Guwahati, Kolkata, Pasighat and Andal.

    "The exercises will be part of the capability- building and operational training for undertaking operations from dispersed locations in the event of hostilities. The aim is to familiarise IAF crews with the procedure of flying at these busy airfields and coordinating with civilians," IAF spokesperson (Eastern Command) Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said on Wednesday.

    Earlier this month, days ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to New Delhi for a 2nd Informal Summit, the Indian military had conducted massive war games in Arunachal Pradesh state.

    Nevertheless, China's foreign ministry declared the war drill was not in Arunachal Pradesh but in "South Tibet" which is what China calls the region.

    With an eye on China, the IAF revived seven advanced landing grounds in Arunachal Pradesh over the last three years.

    In September, India also conducted war games in the high altitude areas of Eastern Ladakh with the participation of integrated troops from all its military services. The exercise saw the deployment of mechanised forces with force multipliers integrating high technology platforms.

    India has become more cautious after China's deployment of strategic bombers and long-range missiles that would easily enable overcoming India's existing detection capabilities.

    "On the Tibetan plateau, a number of new major airbases along with innumerable newly developed satellite airstrips, provide the Chinese Air Force with the capability to execute offensive operations over the Himalayas," Jagannath P. Panda, Research Fellow at the Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis said.

    India and China share a nearly 4,000 km border with much of it disputed, including near Arunachal Pradesh, which China calls South Tibet.

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    Tags:
    Arunachal Pradesh, Tibet, People's Liberation Army, Indian Air Force (IAF), Indian Army, India
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