Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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India to upgrade Himalayan airbase near disputed China border

NEW DELHI – India will spend 2 billion rupees (S$33 million) to upgrade an airfield near the disputed Himalayan boundary with China to bolster its defences. 

The Nyoma airfield is located 4,267m above sea level in the eastern part of the territory of Ladakh.

It is where much of the current border dispute is playing out.

The upgrade will allow the South Asian country to base fighters and transporters. 

The airbase will add to the capabilities of the Indian Air Force along the northern border, according to a statement after India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh laid the foundation stone virtually on Tuesday.

The two Asian neighbours are locked in a bitter border dispute since 2020, the worst in four decades.

A clash between troops left 20 Indian and at least four Chinese soldiers dead.

The upgraded airfield could prove to be an irritant in the tense relations between the neighbours.

Both sides have mobilised thousands of troops, artillery guns, missiles and fighters close to the border since 2020. As many as 19 rounds of diplomatic-military talks between the two side have made incremental progress.

The airfield was briefly used in the past and later reactivated in 2010 but wasn’t upgraded.

The absence of facilities at the Nyoma airbase forced India to use nearby airfields in the region. BLOOMBERG

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