The Indian Air Force (IAF) has divulged details of its helipads in the sensitive eastern and northern sectors while inviting bids for hiring helicopters from public sector undertakings and private airlines for lifting officials and stores, raising eyebrows in some quarters.
The request for proposal (RFP), posted on the IAF's official website, has given coordinates of several helipads along with their dimension and altitude.
Insisting that security has not been compromised, a senior IAF officer said, "Vendors require this information to compete for the contract. They will not be able to prepare bids if they are clueless about where they have to operate. It has no security implications." He said such an RFP had not been issued for the first time.
Former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Major said the IAF would never issue an RFP that could have security implications.
The helipads, the details of which have been posted on the website, include Tangdhar, Pharkian Gali, Navapachi, Dawar, Baraub, Sonaarwain, Khundru and Kupwara in the northern sector. Those in the eastern sector comprise Chuna, Taksing, Tato, Bidak, Daporijo and Tawang.
Strategic affairs expert Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak (retd) said, "The IAF had to turn to private players to meet its requirements. That is of greater concern. As far as the security angle is concerned, all this is open source intelligence."
Kak said the earlier India got used to high level of transparency on such issues, the better it would be.