Situation not alarming along India-China border: IAFJuly 21st, 2008 - 10:46 am ICT by IANS
Chabua (Assam), July 21 (IANS) Notwithstanding the existence of 14 Chinese airbases along the northeastern border, a top Indian Air Force (IAF) officer says there is no “offensive posture” on the part of the neighbouring country. “The situation, as perceived, is not alarming,” Group Captain M.S. Venkateshwar, the commanding officer of the Chabua air base, told IANS. “But we are also well equipped to tackle any threat to the security of the country,” he added.
According to Venkateshwar, not all the 14 airbases on the Chinese side were operational but were provided with the basic infrastructure and could be upgraded as and when required.
These bases are located in Donshoon, Nagchuka, Kaonga Dzong, Hoping, Yoshu, Linzhi, Pangta, Chengdir, Dazu, Yanshgan, Kengzhi West, Kun Ming, Phetun and Badshan.
Against this, there are seven air bases on the Indian side of the border at Mohanbari, Chabua, Guwahati, Hashimara, Jorhat, Tezpur, and Bagdogra.
“So far, we have got no reports about new force deployments or induction of more fighter aircraft squadrons by the Chinese in the border areas,” Venkateshwar said.
The activities of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) have, however, been a cause of concern to the Indian military establishment due to repeated incursions into Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.
Speaking about the Chabua air base, Venkateshwar said it was constructed in 1939 at the start of the Second World War and was extensively used for launching operations against Japanese forces.
The IAF began operating from here in 1962 after the India-China war initially with Dakota transports. Subsequently, Mi-4 helicopters and fighters like Vampires and Hunters were deployed at the base.
In the mid-1970s, consequent to the upgradation of the runway, the supersonic MiG-21 became the mainstay fighter aircraft operating from Chabua.