IAF advances to match China's infrastructure | india | Hindustan Times
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IAF advances to match China's infrastructure

india Updated: Jul 15, 2008 17:26 IST
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Worried at the increase in Chinese airfields along the border, the Centre is upgrading its infrastructure and fleet strength at all air force stations under the Eastern Air Command.

"AFS Chabua is surrounded by 14 airfields on the Chinese side. Not all of them are now being used, but they can be made operational within a week," Commanding Officer of the Chabua airbase, Group Captain MS Venkateswara told a group of visiting newspersons in Chabua.

Pointing out that the border with China was 170 km north and that with Myanmar 80 km south of Chabua airbase, he said, "This calls for an increase in air defence mechanism."

Though the situation at present was not alarming, there was a threat perception from the Chinese side as the position of their airfields make a multi-directional approach possible during operations, he said, adding that China could also use Myanmarese air space against India given the good relations between the two countries.

In view of the threat perception, air force bases at Dibrugarh, Mohanbari, Jorhat, Guwahati, Tezpur, Hasimara and Bagdogra were being upgraded.

According to Venkateswara, the Chinese have SU-27s, SU-30s, J-8s and J-10s deployed at these airbases. While they were not likely to deploy GF-17s, but the possibility exists.

Chabua, which now has two squadrons of MiG-27s, will get Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Multi-Modal Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) as part of the upgrade programme.

The Operations Conversion Unit (OCU) of AFS Chabua was conducting round-the-clock sorties to maintain vigil on the airspace, he said.