The Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju dedicated to the nation the Pasighat Advance Landing Ground (ALG) on August 19. Three Sukhoi-30 MKI took off from Chabua airbase in Tinsukia district of Assam and flew past the ALG. One of them made a landing for the first time at the new ALG in East Siang district.
The ALG will tremendously boost the Indian Air Force’s capabilities in the northeast especially in areas close to the China border.
It will also help in close support to paramilitaries and the Indian Army stationed in the region besides acting connecting the state to the rest of the country.
The Pasighat ALG was already in existence but it was not used for fighter jets such as Sukhoi. In 2010, the IAF started the aviation infrastructure development of the ALG turning it into a proper, fighter jet supporting strip.
The reason behind getting such an ALG in the area is increasing Chinese influence just across the border.
Rijiju said that Chinese PLA forces had twice transgressed in July this year. He said that one incident was reported from Kibithu area in remote Anjaw district and another at Thangsa in Tawang district.
“We cannot term it as incursion, but transgression as the Chinese army just crossed the perceived area along the Line of Actual Control,” he said.
China is steadily building military infrastructure across the border with India, especially in the northeastern region.
To counter an increasingly assertive China, India has to make preparations along the border which includes overall development of northeast.
This is what Rijiju pointed out while inaugurating the ALG.
“We are not challenging or competing with any other country by strengthening our border infrastructure. We will have to build robust infrastructure to strengthen our defence and whatever we did is because India is an emerging power with capability. So IAF should have operational bases in all the bordering states,” he said.
India is very serious about checking China’s influence in the region. The next such ALG will be built in Tawang in the state at an altitude of 11,000 feet, land for which has been identified but not finalised. The Pasighat ALG is now capable of operating all types of fixed and rotary wing military aircraft. It is the third such facility after Tezpur and Chabua.