India to build new air base in Ladakh

Ladakh, Oct 4 : India is about to open a new air base at Nyoma, within 100 miles of Daulat Beg Oldie in Ladakh, in further steps to keep China's growing military muscle at bay.

Air Force Chief NAK Browne said that the Nyoma airfield, located in South Easten Ladakh where it overlooks a highway that's used by the Chinese army, will be expanded into a full-fledged airbase, allowing fighter planes and heavy transport aircraft to land here.

Located at a height of 13,000 feet, India had stopped using it after the war with China in 1962, but brought it back into operation in 2010 and Browne said the new base should be fully functional by 2016-17.

India is also upgrading all the seven Advance Landing Grounds (ALGs) in Arunachal Pradesh at a cost of Rs 700 crore to equip them for night landing, the Air Chief said.

India and China have a long running dispute over territorial boundaries, especially over Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Ladakh under Jammu and Kashmir.

In 1962 China and India fought a brief war over Aksai Chin (Ladakh region) and Arunachal Pradesh, but in 1993 and 1996 the two countries signed agreements to respect the Line of Actual Control.

The 4057 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the effective border between India and People's Republic of China (PRC).

In May this year the two sides were embroiled in a standoff after New Delhi alleged Chinese troops intruded nearly 20 kilometres into Indian territory.

--IBNS (Posted on 05-10-2013)

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