Beijing, October 3: The Lhasa Gonggar Airport in Tibet Autonomous Region, located just 1,350 kilometres from Indian capital New Delhi, has been reportedly turned into a military air base by the China's People's Liberation Army.
According to reports citing top security officials, the PLA has built a "taxi track" from the Lhasa airport to a nearby bomb-proof location, where 3 squadrons of fighters or 36 jets would be stationed. China Defends Move to Block India’s Bids at UN to List Azhar Masood as Global Terrorist, Claims ‘No Consensus’.
The bomb-proof shelters, also known as hangars, usually prop up at times of hostilities where both the sides ensure their artillery is not damaged in air-raids and other enemy attacks.
According to Lieutenant General S L Narasimhan, member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) - which advises the Union Cabinet on security affairs - New Delhi must also "have built-in redundancies to cater for any exigencies".
In Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China, the Indian Army has been upgrading the Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG). The airfields, whose upgradation is underway, are located in Walong, Mechuka, Tuting, Pasighat and Ziro. They were first built during the Second World War.
Ties between China and India had deteriorated due to a 73-day standoff between the two sides at the tri-junction region of Doklam. The standoff led to hectic rounds of sabre-rattling, with the state-owned Chinese media issuing vitriolic attacks against New Delhi.
A rapprochement came earlier this year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was called for an informal summit by Chinese President Xi Jinping. In the joint statement issued following two days of talks, the two sides pledged to boost bilateral security and trade cooperation.