The Indian Air Force is activating civil airfield of Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun. A detachment of two Sukhoi (Su-30 MKI) aircraft will operate from the airport for two days – February 19 and February 20. This is being seen as a strategic move to counter China.
“The detachment would operate from the airfield for two days from Feb 19 for area familiarisation before returning to their parent base,” the IAF said.
The move by the Indian Air Force (IAF) is viewed as India’s preparation for perceived Chinese aggression in near future, in the wake of violation of airspace in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in the past.
The move comes amid increasing assertiveness by Chinese soldiers along nearly 4,000 km-long Sino-India border which includes a portion in Uttarakhand.
According to officials, the IAF will operate two Sukhoi fighter jets will operate from the airport near Dehradun as part of a move to expand options for any future requirement.
“As a routine exercise of activating civil airfield by the IAF, a detachment of two Su-30 MKI aircraft would operate from Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun,” Indian Air Force said in a statement.
In June 2017, a suspected Chinese helicopter was sighted flying above Indian territory in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand, close to Sino-India border.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Chamoli Tripti Bhatt had told ANI, “The helicopter violated Indian airspace for over three to five minutes”.
Meanwhile on Thursday, China had voiced its “firm opposition” to the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Arunachal Pradesh which it claims as part of South Tibet and said it would lodge a diplomatic protest with India.
“China’s position on the China-India boundary question is consistent and clear-cut,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang in response to Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday.
“The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to the Indian leader’s visit to the disputed area,” Geng was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.
“We will lodge stern representations with the Indian side,” he said.