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India to upgrade Ladakh airstrip to counter China
Phayul[Wednesday, September 22, 2010 11:56]
Dharamsala, September 22 – India is planning to upgrade its Nyoma advanced landing ground (ALG) in Eastern Ladakh into an operational airbase, reported The Times of India. Nyoma ALG was re-activated with the landing of an AN-32 transport in September 2009.

India’s leading English daily cited Defence ministry sources on Monday that the Indian Air Force has submitted a proposal to develop Nyoma into ''a full-fledged airfield, capable of handling all kinds of aircraft, including fighters'', as well as civilian flights. Incidentally, defence minister A K Antony himself had visited Nyoma in June this year.

The reactivation of Nyoma, located just 23 km from the Line of Actual Control with China at an altitude of 13,300 feet, as well as other ALGs like Daulat Beg Oldi and Fukche over the last couple of years is aimed at connecting remote regions of Ladakh with the rest of India to promote tourism and other economic activity.

However, the real aim is to counter the massive build-up of military infrastructure by China all along the 4,056-km LAC, according to the Time of India, which added that such ALGs and road links will create more access points for the armed forces to border areas with India's two traditional rivals, Pakistan and China. Such infrastructure will help India rush troops to the region in emergency situations.

The 1962 war between India and China stemmed from China's offensives in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line on 20 October 1962. Chinese troops advanced over Indian forces in both theaters, capturing Rezang la in Chushul in the western theater, as well as Tawang in the eastern theater. The war ended when the Chinese declared a ceasefire on 20 November 1962.

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