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Rediff News  All News  » News » N-E infrastructure build-up not to counter Chinese: Air Chief

N-E infrastructure build-up not to counter Chinese: Air Chief

November 18, 2011 15:39 IST

As an airfield in the border state of Arunachal Pradesh was reactivated on Friday, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said beefing up infrastructure in the north-east is not to "counter" the Chinese.

Browne also said the Vijaynagar airfield, located at the country's easternmost tip at the tri-junction of India, China and Myanmar, is too short to operate fighter aircraft.

The air chief said in addition to AN-32 cargo planes, which will be in operation now, there will be C130 transport flights in due course from the airfield. The airfield is "too small for fighter aircraft," he added.

It was reactivated in the presence of Arunachal Pradesh Governor General (retd) J J Singh.

Asked whether the infrastructure plans in the north-east were to "counter" the Chinese, he said, "It's not to counter anybody. All that we are doing is to provide tremendous amount of accessibility to the north-east region".

He pointed out that the region had not developed because of inability to transport people and provide access to certain hinterland areas. The increased accessibility would lead to all-round development of the north-east, he said.

"And while we (IAF) are there, we will also support the Army", he added. The use of Vijaynagar airfield was discontinued in 2009 for carrying out repairs there.

 The airfield is used for air maintenance and will help in mobilising troops and equipment at a faster pace as and when required.

This is the first Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in the north-east to be upgraded in what is seen as India's efforts to match Chinese military infrastructure development activities.

ALGs in Pasighat, Mechuka, Walong, Tuting and Ziro as well as several helipads in Arunachal are also being upgraded.

IAF has so far activated its ALGs in Ladakh including Nyoma, Daulat Beg Oldi and Fukche and is planning to convert Nyoma in to a full-fledged air base.

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