Ready to deal with any situation along LAC in Ladakh: IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria


The Indian Air Force is well aware of China’s air activities including about its airfields, operational bases and deployment in Tibet, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said on Saturday as a deadly clash between troops of the two countries in eastern Ladakh triggered fears of a fresh confrontation. He said the IAF is “well prepared” and “suitably deployed” to counter any security challenge along the border with China and even hinted that his force has flown combat air patrols in the region as part of heightened preparedness.

“We fly whatever is required in response to any situation. It includes combat air patrol when it is required,” he told reporters after reviewing a combined passing-out parade of officers at the IAF academy in Dundigal.

He was asked specifically whether IAF was flying combat air patrols in Ladakh. Under combat air patrols, fully armed fighter jets can be scrambled at short notices for specific missions.

The IAF has already moved a sizeable number of its frontline Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000 aircraft and Apache attack helicopters to several key air bases including Leh and Srinagar in the last four days, sources said.

Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said the IAF was aware of the Chinese air force’s capability, its airfields, operational bases and deployment of its platforms in the region, asserting that his force has taken all necessary steps to handle all contingencies.

The Chief of Air Staff was speaking after reviewing the combined passing-out parade of officers at the IAF academy in Dundigal.

“We are aware of the full situation, be at LAC (Line of Actual Control), be it deployments beyond LAC,” he said.

“We are determined that we will not let the sacrifice of the Galwan bravehearts go in vain,” Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said referring to the killing of 20 Indian Army personnel in the Galwan Valley clash on Monday night.

At the same time, he said all efforts are being made to resolve the situation peacefully.

The Indian Air Force has put all its frontline bases along the 3,500 km de-facto border with China on high-alert and moved in additional assets like fighter jets and attack helicopters as part of heightened state of preparedness following the clashes.

The IAF chief was at the Leh IAF base on Wednesday where he reviewed operational preparedness of the force.

“It should be very clear that we are well prepared and suitably deployed to respond to any contingency. I assure the nation that we are determined to deliver and will never let the sacrifice of our braves of Galwan go in vain,” the IAF chief said.

Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said the IAF has carried out a full analysis of the situation and initiated necessary action accordingly to handle any contingency that may arise with “this kind of deployment”.

“We know what their (Chinese) fields are. We know what their air fields are, where they are deployed, what are the operational bases,” he said referring to the Chinese air force.

On Wednesday, the government put all the frontline bases of the Indian Army and the IAF along the Line of Actual Control with China on high alert in view of the Galwan clashes.

Though, every year China makes deployment and conducts air exercises in the region, there was an increase in activities this time, the IAF chief said.

“The security scenario in our region mandates that our armed forces remain prepared and vigilant at all times. The development at LAC is a small snapshot of what we are required to handle at short notice,” he added.

The Indian and Chinese armies were engaged in a standoff in Galwan and several other areas of eastern Ladakh since May 5 when the two sides clashed on the banks of the Pangong Tso.

Military and diplomatic talks between the two countries are on to resolve the border standoff.

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