Strategic airstrip to come up at Indira Point soon

Strategic airstrip to come up at Indira Point soon

Army raises armoured brigade at Ladakh, Leh

India is all geared up to operate a strategic airstrip at the country’s southernmost point—the Indira Point—to deal with future developments in the Indian Ocean region.

Sources in the Indian Army told Deccan Herald that the multi-pronged defence strategy also includes raising of an armoured regiment each in Leh and Ladakh, in addition to other developments, including the airstrip at Indira Point. Although the location was partially submerged in the sea after the 2004 tsunami, an airstrip is still feasible, sources said.

According to sources, the airstrip at Indira Point will enhance the armed forces’ assets outside the mainland. Currently, India’s operations outside the mainland on the eastern coast happen from the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), Port Blair.

Sitting literally on China’s lifeline,  Malacca Strait, the ANC command will prove key to countering China’s “string of pearls” strategy of surrounding India with strategic bases.

“The uninterrupted oil supply from the Gulf to China needs to pass through the strait before touching Pakistan and Sri Lanka and go towards Bangladesh and it is important that we have our presence here,” a source from ANC, the Tri-Services Command, said.

While China has already geared up with ports in Chittagong in Bangladesh and a port in Sri Lanka to keep its supplies secure, India is gearing up with an infrastructure boost.

And the development at Indira Point will provide just what is needed. “We already have the ability to take off and land aircraft from both Port Blair and Car Nicobar under the ANC and now, moving further down to Indira Point airstrip will add value to our strategy,” a senior MoD official said.

Sources in the Border Roads Organisation, which has been entrusted with the responsibility of constructing the airstrip, said: “We were given the responsibility sometime ago and the work is already in progress. The strip should be operational in a few months now.”

While the new airstrip will add to the strategic acquisition along the east coast, the two tank brigades will prove as major deterrents and images of strength along the northern border and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

It is only for the first time in independent India’s history that such a formation, equipped with infantry combat vehicles and tanks, is being deployed on the China border. Close to 350 battle tanks and separate mechanised infantry battalions will be raised and deployed in the sector, which is crucial for our security.

Just days before Deccan Herald witnessed the movement of these equipment, Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh had made a statement conceding the presence of Chinese troops in PoK. It is also a known fact that China has already deployed its motorised and armoured formations along the Line of Actual Control.