Chinese Air Force push infra in Ladakh amid tensions across LAC

IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria flies Light Combat Aircraft Tejas with 45 Squadron at Air Force Station Sulur on 27 May.

Amidst the rising tensions between India and China, Chinese air force’s infrastructure expansion along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh to increase its further deployment is on forefront and a resolution to border problems in the sensitive sector appears elusive even as the December 9 Yangtse clash has turned the spotlight on lingering issues with China along the eastern frontier in Arunachal Pradesh, officials versed  with the matter said on Wednesday.

According to the officials,  India is keeping a tab on the developments factoring the adversary’s capabilities in its operational planning, and taking matching measures to stay prepared for any contingency while  the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is undeniably focused on creating and modernising infrastructure across LAC to maximise its capabilities.

“India has closed the infrastructure gap significantly since the Ladakh standoff began two and a half years ago. Scaling up infrastructure to support sustained operations forms part of the country’s broader strategy to tackle the China challenge not only in Ladakh but all along LAC,” the official said.

Under the infrastructure push, China is keen on increasing the runways and hangars at the air base, from dangerous aircraft, air-to-air missiles (SAM), a strong radar network.

“The Indian Air Force is alert, and it is in a high state of preparedness to defend the country’s interests and deter aggression,” official stated further.

Most Chinese airfields in Xinjiang and Tibet are meant for dual-use, and PLAAF has consciously built hardened shelters for fighter aircraft and other logistics infrastructure for weapons and fuel storage, said Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retd), director general, Centre for Air Power Studies. “IAF has also built considerable infrastructure in Ladakh and the Northeast to counter China,” he added.