No question of closing Siachen airfield: IAF
The Indian Air Force has ruled out shutting its airfield in the event of any demilitarisation along the glacier.india Updated: May 11, 2006 17:41 IST
The Indian Air Force, the Army's lifeline in maintaining troops in the world's highest battlefield Siachen, on Thursday ruled out shutting its airfield here in the event of any demilitarisation along the glacier.
"There is no question of shutting Siachen airfield. Its importance is not only from the strategic point of view, but also as a lifeline to the civilians," Air Officer-in-chief of the Western Command, Air Marshal AK Singh told reporters at Thoise, IAF's northern most airfield, which is also a gateway to the Glacier.
"If de-escalation takes places, like everybody else I hope it does, the role of IAF will remain. Certain role will be played in maintaining the troops. Our role will certainly remain…" he said.
The airfield is located at a height of 10,060 feet, at the confluence of three great ranges, the Karokaram in north-east, the Ladakh ranges in the south and the Saltoro ranges in north-west.
He was replying to various questions on possibility of de-escalation of Siachen asked on Wednesday by reporters from Chandigarh and Delhi for whom the IAF had arranged a two day trip to Siachen, Thoise and Leh.
The trip was to show the extremely difficult condition IAF operated in and how it supported and maintained the army deployment in the glacier.