A Chinese dual-use airport, which hosts fighter jets capable of carrying out attacks, close to Arunachal Pradesh is witnessing a buildup. This comes amid tensions between India and China following a border clash on December 9.
The airport, approximately 155 km north of the India-China border, is being readied as tensions rise near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal’s Tawang.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) air base at the dual-use (military and civilian) Shigatse Peace airport hosts fighter jets, airborne early warning jets and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—capable of launching air attack and reconnaissance missions into neighboring territory.
This comes a day after the Indian Air Force said it will conduct an exercise in the Eastern Sector of the country on December 15 and 16. Fighter jets, transport aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will participate in the exercise.
However, the IAF has said that the command level exercise in the eastern sector is a routine exercise planned in advance and has nothing to do with the recent clash.
The buildup also comes against the backdrop of a clash between Indian and Chinese troops at the LAC at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. There was a physical scuffle between the two sides but Indian soldiers “compelled the Chinese soldiers to return to their posts” and prevented a land-grab, as per Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in Parliament on Tuesday.
Rajnath Singh also accused soldiers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of attempting to transgress LAC “and unilaterally change the status quo”. The defence minister informed Parliament that there had been injuries on both sides, but there were no fatalities among Indian troops.
Troops belonging to Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Jat Regiment and Sikh Light Infantry were present at the location when the Chinese tried to forcefully enter Indian territory, top defence sources told India Today.
But China has alleged that Indian troops ‘illegally’ crossed the border in Tawang and “obstructed” Chinese troops, triggering a fresh stand-off last week, as per reports by AFP.
Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9, the first such incident between the two sides since the skirmishes in Ladakh’s Galwan in 2020.
In Galwan, Indian and Chinese troops engaged in combat and 20 Indian soldiers died, as did an undisclosed number of Chinese soldiers. Since then, both countries have deployed thousands of troops along the LAC. After multiple meetings between military commanders, Indian and Chinese troops pulled back from most of the disputed areas.