CHABUA, April 19 - Regardless of China�s continuous objection to Indian stand in Arunachal Pradesh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said that development of military capabilities in the forward locations of the Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will continue as part of modernisation.
The Defence Minister, who visited Arunachal�s Pasighat and Dollungmukh IAF firing range to witness the display of military might as part of Gaganshakti, the largest IAF exercise, after landing at Chabua, the easternmost bastion of the IAF, said that developing of the airfields will go on.
�The Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) of the IAF in Arunachal Pradesh will be further built as part of the modernisation. We will develop all of them and even expand some in the frontier areas, that�s certain,� the minister said.
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa told newsmen in the presence of the Defence Minister that as part of the expansion plan, seven more ALGs will be constructed for military operations in Arunachal Pradesh in addition to the existing eight ALGs in the easternmost state.
The Defence Minister arrived at the Chabua airbase around 10:30 am by an IAF aircraft. She was then flown by an Mi-17 helicopter to Pasighat ALG where she was witness to the military exercise as part of the IAF Gaganshakti 2018 in the eastern range. She witnessed the historic landing of the C-17 Globemaster of the IAF in the recently activated Pasighat ALG. She also witnessed the landing of fighter aircraft Sukhoi Su-30.
The C-17 Globemaster is a high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed military transport aircraft, which can carry large equipment, supplies and troops directly to small airfields in harsh terrain anywhere anytime. The C-17 aircraft today landed at Pasighat with several military trucks and combat equipment along with a troupe of Garud Commando Force of the IAF. The Garud Commandos displayed their war preparedness.
The Defence Minister was then flown to Dollungmukh IAF firing range where she witnessed carpet bombing, firing by Su-30s and Mi-17 gunships. She also witnessed live war simulation from a tower at the location along with the Air Chief Marshal.
Sitharaman later came back to the Chabua airbase where she inspected loading of bombs into Su-30s. Briefing the newsmen, she said Gaganshakti was the biggest exercise of the Indian Air Force in the country where all logistics linked with fighter aircraft were tested in a simulated war.