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India upgrading border airstrips to counter China

September 24, 2010

Tibetan Review
September 22, 2010

India is to upgrade the Nyoma advanced landing
ground (ALG) in Eastern Ladakh into a
full-fledged airfield ostensibly to further
connect remote regions of Ladakh with the rest of
India in order to promote tourism and other
economic activity, reported the Times of India
online Sep 21. But the real aim is to counter the
massive build-up of military infrastructure by
China all along the 4,056-km Line of Actual Control (LAC), the report said.

Coupled with building of road links in the
region, reopening of such ALGs will create more
access points for the armed forces to border
areas with India's two traditional rivals,
Pakistan and China, the report said. Such
infrastructure will help India rush troops to the
region if there is an emergency.

The report cited India’s defence ministry sources
as saying the Indian Air Force (IAF) had
submitted a proposal to develop Nyoma into "a
full-fledged airfield, capable of handling all
kinds of aircraft, including fighters," as well as civilian flights.

The report said the reactivation of Nyoma,
located just 23 km from the LAC, with Chinese
occupied Tibet at an altitude of 13,300 feet, as
well as other ALGs like Daulat Beg Oldi and
Fukche over the last couple of years had been
done with the stated objective of connecting
remote regions of Ladakh with the mainland to
promote tourism and other economic activity.

The report said that after reactivating western
sector ALGs, the IAF was also upgrading eastern
sector ALGs like Pasighat, Mechuka, Walong,
Tuting, Ziro and Vijaynagar as well as several helipads in Arunachal Pradesh.
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