India re-activating air strip in Arunachal

India re-activating air strip in Arunachal

The third such base in the border state after Tuting and Mechuka, it will facilitate operations of Indian Air Force (IAF) fixed wing aircraft like the Soviet-era AN-32s, officers said here Thursday.

The "upgraded" Vijayanagar ALG is located at the tri-junction of India, China and Myanmar in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. It will help India in quick mobilisation of troops and equipment to the borders during crisis situations.

"An IAF AN-32 carrying Arunachal Governor Gen. (retd.) J.J. Singh and Eastern Air Commander (chief) Air Marshal S. Varthaman will land at the ALG Friday to mark its reactivation," an officer said.

"The runway and other facilities have been upgraded to ensure operation of more types of IAF aircraft from there," the officer said. The Vijayanagar ALG will be the fourth such facility India has created along its border with China in the last three years.

India had earlier opened Daulat Beg Oldi, Fukche and Nyoma ALGs in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on its Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in the norther areas.

Vijayanagar will be the first such facility that IAF opens in the eastern sector along the LAC with China in recent years. IAF also has plans to upgrade other eastern sector ALGs such as Pasighat, Walong and Ziro as well as several helipads in Arunachal Pradesh soon.

These efforts are part of India's military infrastructure build up to match up such efforts by China. India has raised two new mountain divisions in the northeast and stationed them in Nagaland and Assam.

It has also based its frontline fighter planes, the Su-30-MKI, in Tezpur and plans to have another squadron of the aircraft in another air base in Assam soon. Two new Akash missile squadrons too have been approved for the northeast in recent months.

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