China develops new fighter base near Ladakh

Rafale fighter plane operating in the Ladakh region (file photo)

New Delhi [India]July 19 (ANI): Seeking to overcome the limitations of its combat aircraft operations along the Line of Real Control (LAC) with India, China is developing an air base for combat aircraft operations near the eastern region of Ladakh in the city of Shakche in the province of Xinjiang.

“The base stands between the existing air bases of Kashgar and Hogan which have been carrying out hunting operations along the Indian borders for a long time. This new base of fighter operations will fill the void of the Chinese air force in this region, “government sources told ANI.

The city of Shakche already has an air base and it is being upgraded for combat aircraft operations, they said.

The sources added that the base would be ready for combat aircraft operations in the near future and that work there had been speeded up.

The gap between existing air bases in China near the LAC for combat aircraft operations was around 400 km, but this would be closed with the operationalization of Shakche airfield.

Indian agencies are also closely monitoring an airfield near the Uttarakhand border at Barahiti with China where the Chinese have brought in large numbers of unmanned aerial vehicles which are constantly flying in the region.

Recently, the Chinese Air Force held an exercise in the new summer round near the Indian territories, and sorties were carried out by them mainly from the airfields of Hogan, Kashgar and Gar Gunsa.

The exercises were closely watched by the Indian side and the Indian side was at a high level of readiness during this time.

The Chinese Air Force has traditionally been weak in this part of the LAC with India having a number of airfields in the relatively short range airfields along the LAC and has an adage on the military of the LAC. Chinese air in terms of punching capacity.

The Chinese side has further strengthened its air defense in the region with the deployment of its S-400 air defense systems imported from Russia even as India has deployed a large number of systems to support the aircraft fleet of Chinese combat, in case it is ever required.

The Indian side has also deployed a number of fighter jets to Leh and other forward air bases that can confront China and Pakistan simultaneously from its bases in Ladakh.

The deployment of Rafale fighter jets at Ambala and Hashimara air bases and their operationalization also gave a boost to India’s preparedness against the Chinese. (ANI)

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