NEW DELHI – Indian military personnel have been performing high-level exercises in the Himalayas near the Royal Control Line (LAC). The frequency of these exercises has increased following reports of a military reinforcement by China since the Doklam clash in 2017. LAC is the de facto border between India and China.
Indian Air Force Eastern Command (IAF) has announced important exercises at aerodromes near the Chinese border to remain in combat readiness in case of conflict.
The IAF deployed its flagship Su-30MKI fighter, among others, during the exercises, the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
The exercise will take place in two phases, from 16 to 19 October and later from 29 October to 1 November.
Images released by the Ministry of Defense revealed their Su-30MKI and Hawk aircraft operating from scattered locations including Dimapur, Imphal, Guwahati, Kolkata, Pasighat and Andal.
“The exercises will be part of increased capacity building and operational training to conduct operations from dispersed locations in case of hostilities. The goal is to familiarize IAF crews with the procedure of flying at these busy aerodromes and coordinating with civilians,” the IAF (Eastern Command) spokesman, wing commander Ratnakar Singh, said on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, just days before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Delhi for a Second Informal Summit, the Indian military had conducted mass war games in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
However, China’s Foreign Ministry said the military exercise was not in Arunachal Pradesh, but in “Southern Tibet”, which is what China calls the region.
With an eye on China, the IAF has resurrected seven advanced airfields in Arunachal Pradesh over the past three years.
In September, India also held war games in the high altitude areas of East Ladakh with the participation of integrated troops from all its military services. The exercise included the deployment of mechanized forces with force multipliers integrating high-tech platforms.
India became more cautious after China’s deployment of strategic bombers and long-range missiles that would easily outstrip India’s current detection capabilities.
“On the Tibetan plateau, a number of important new airbases, along with a number of newly developed satellite airstrips, give the Chinese Air Force the ability to carry out offensive operations across the Himalayas,” commented Jagannath P. Panda.
India and China share a border of almost 4,000 km with much of it in dispute, including near Arunachal Pradesh, which China calls southern Tibet.