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India to upgrade Nyoma in Ladakh as air base

October 5, 2010

Tibetan Review.
October 3, 2010

China’s increased military activities, including
with moving in of new defence equipment and build
up of related infrastructure on a massive scale
in occupied Tibet, has prompted India to take
countervailing measures, one of which is to
upgrade the advanced landing ground (ALG) of the
Indian Air Force (IAF) at Nyoma in Ladakh,
according to Indian newspaper reports Oct 1-2. A
proposal to modernise the compact airstrip at
Nyoma, located just 23 kilometres from the Line
of Actual Control (LAC) with Chinese occupied
Tibet, had gone to the Defence Ministry for
approval, the Indian Express online Sep 1 cited
the IAF’s Western Air Command chief Air Marshal
NAK Browne as saying at a press conference.

 From Nyoma, IAF fighters will be able to fly
missions to the nearby border, where Indian
troops were overwhelmed by the Chinese in 1962
without any fighter support, noted Business
Standard online (India) Oct 2. Once upgraded in
three to four years, “We shall be able to operate
each and every aircraft of the IAF from Nyoma."
Our modern fighters, particularly the
Sukhoi-30MKI, are designed to operate from such
high altitude airfields,” Browne was quoted as saying.

In 2008, India decided to station frontline
Sukhoi-30MKI fighters at four IAF bases in
northeast India — Tezpur, Bagdogra, Chhabua and
Hashimara — close by its border with Chinese occupied Tibet.

Browne has said the IAF was watching China’s
developing capabilities in occupied Tibet, just
across the LAC from Nyoma. “We are looking at the
new threats…. and all of that is factored into
our planning… whether in terms of new (Chinese)
bases, sensors, missiles, radars and new weapons.
We evaluate how these could affect us," he was quoted as saying.
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