IAF sets up fighter base near Pak border

The base will support all types of operations 24x7

On Tuesday, a new Indian Air Force fighter base will be inaugurated at Phalodi from where it will take just a few minutes for the IAF fighters to reach the border.

Located between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, the base will support all types of operations 24x7.
Within a fortnight, one of the elite strike forces of the army, the  Mathura-based 1 Corps, will launch a month-long exercise in Rajsthan desert to validate the strike force’s ability to fight night-time wars, said an army officer.

Code-named ‘Operation Yudha Shakti’, the exercise will involve mechanised columns and will be backed by the IAF with network-centric warfare.

Incidentally, 1 Corps is assigned to the South Western command. Phalodi airbase too will be coming under the South Western command, reflecting the command’s growing strategic significance in India’s security dynamics.

Phalodi base was approved by the government way back in April 2000 just after Kargil conflict, keeping the then geo-political scenario and operational requirements in mind.
But it comes to life after ten years following Defence Minister A K Antony’s open criticism of the US for selling  sophisticated military hardware and precision ammunition to Islamabad.

Bitter experience

Last month citing India’s bitter experience of how Islamabad used such aid against India in the past, Antony stated Washington should ensure that the latest military aid is used only for the purpose of countering Al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists and not against India.

While the drones and fighter deals were known, it is actually the supply of a large quantity of laser-guided ammunitions, which caused maximum worries.

The IAF set up a care and maintenance unit at Phalodi on July 31, 2001 which facilitates intermittent flight. It will now be a full time IAF base ready to undertake all types of operations, said an IAF officer.

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