Fighter aircraft have been stationed at advance air bases in Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab.
Days after India-China LAC clash that left 20 Indian soldiers dead, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has intensified its Combat Air Patrols (CAP) in Ladakh. According to an IE report, fighter aircraft have been stationed at advance air bases in Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab. The CAPs ensure that a credible deterrence is maintained by the IAF in the skies. Some IAF sources were quoted in the report saying that the Chinese have bolstered the presence of offensive air platforms at their airfields in Tibet. A senior IAF official said that air defence elements have been brought in by the Chinese at various locations where the standoff is taking place. The official further said that the IAF has its counter-measures in place and fly CAPs as per the situation’s demand.
A retired honorary captain of Ladakh Scouts, named Tashi Chhepal, who is also a Vir Chakra awardee of Kargil War, is settled in Leh. According to Chhepal, in the year 1999, Leh’s Kushok Bakula Rimpoche airport last saw this kind of aerial activity since the air force was its base during the Kargil War. Otherwise, Leh is very calm and quiet, he said. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, tourists were also not coming for the last couple of months. In the year 1962, IAF was not as strong as it is today, Chhepal said. Also, if need arises, IAF will provide full support to the Indian Army in the Galwan valley or any other place, as and when required, he added.
A teacher at Tibetan Children’s Village in Leh, Tsering Wangchuk was quoted in the report saying that every morning, the way in which fighter jets and choppers are doing sorties, people in Leh are fearful. But, he further mentioned that the people of Ladakh are extremely brave and patriotic. The fighter jets’ noise also gives confidence to the people that they are absolutely safe, Wangchuk said. Earlier, just a few domestic air planes would land at the airport but these days, the airport is almost filled with IAF jets and choppers, he added.
Besides, keeping an eye on the situation in eastern Ladakh, a major concern for the IAF is observing the Line of Control with Pakistan. For example, the Skardu air base in the Gilgit-Baltistan area is very close. A senior officer claimed that they are seized of all these issues and are well prepared to deal with them. Thus, there is no cause for any alarm, he added.