NEW DELHI: IAF now plans to upgrade its Nyoma advanced landing ground (ALG) in Eastern Ladakh, which was re-activated when an AN-32 transport landed there in September 2009, into an operational airbase.
Defence ministry sources on Monday said IAF 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 has been done with the stated objective of connecting remote regions of Ladakh with the mainland to promote tourism and other economic activity.
But the real aim is to counter the massive build-up of military infrastructure by China all along the 4,056-km LAC. Coupled with building of road links in the region, reopening of such ALGs 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 if there is an emergency.
As reported earlier by TOI, after reactivating western sector ALGs, IAF is also upgrading eastern sector ALGs like Pasighat, Mechuka, Walong, Tuting, Ziro and Vijaynagar as well as several helipads in Arunachal Pradesh.