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Upgraded IAF Air Strip Launched in Arunachal Pradesh
Aug 24, 2016

The Indian Air Force Air Force wrote a new chapter in India’s defence history when a Sukhoi fighter aircraft, the most powerful warship available with the Air Force, made its first touchdown at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh, a state that shares a 1,090-km international boundary with China.

  • The Sukhoi aircraft’s landing marked the ceremonial inauguration of the upgraded and renovated Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Pasighat, the oldest town in the state.
  • The upgraded ALG, about 120 km from the China border, will not only be a strategic asset for the Air Force but also provide valuable back-up to a state where surface connectivity is still a major problem.
  • The Sukhoi touchdown was preceded by a flypast by formations of three other Sukhoi-30 MKI Ai Dominance Fighter aircraft that took off from one of the forward bases of the IAF in the Northeast.
  • The touchdown by a frontline fighter jet of the Air Force at the Pasighat ALG is a historic first in the predominantly hilly state of Arunachal Pradesh, which has several ALGs at varying altitudes.
  • The Northeast was known to the rest of the country only after the 1962 Chinese aggression. Pasighat is about 120 km from the closest international border, shared between India and China-occupied Tibet.
  • The ALG will be a strategic asset to the Indian Armed Forces, including IAF, Army and other border security forces in the disputed state.
  • The reactivation of the ALG at Pasighat, 198 km east of capital Itanagar, comes weeks after India deployed around 100 T-72 battle tanks in Ladakh, close to the disputed border with China.
  • The Pasighat ALG is one of eight in the frontier state the IAF had taken up for upgradation in 2009 for boosting air defence preparedness in the eastern sector. The total project cost is Rs 1,000 crore. The Pasighat ALG was earlier a small partly-paved and party-grassy strip reinforced with perforated steel plates. It was used in the past for air maintenance sorties and casualty evacuation by the IAF. Commercial helicopter operations were also being undertaken from the helipads that existed earlier.
  • The other ALGs are at Mechuka, Ziro, Along and Walong, which were inaugurated between March and May this year. Two more, at Tuting and Tawang, are expected to be ready by the year-end. Reconstruction of the eighth, at Vijaynagar, would be undertaken as soon as the road connectivity from Miao, 160 km downhill, is restored.


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