Chinese Incursion May Have Been Some Signal: Air Chief

Published: 04th October 2014 08:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th October 2014 08:36 PM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: The Chinese incursion into Ladakh, timed with the visit of President Xi Jinping to India last month, could have been "some signalling", IAF chief Air Marshal Arup Raha said today while asserting that the defence infrastructure is being boosted along the border with it.      

He said India is "not giving ground to anyone" and mentioned that two air bases are being set up in Ladakh region as part of boosting the country's defences.    

"It's been always a mystery the way incursions take place and the way they get timed with various visits... It's nothing new, it remains a mystery for all of us.       

"You all know that in diplomacy a lot of signalling is done, especially so with our northern neighbour.

It could be part of some signalling to my mind. But I am not going to guess what it really means," he told reporters at an interaction ahead of Indian Air Force's 82nd anniversary celebrations on October 8.   

He was responding when asked to comment frequent incursions by China, including the recent one when Chinese troops pushed in civilians into Indian territory in Demchok in Ladakh to prevent work on an irrigation canal being built for the people of the area.        

They had pitched tents in the Indian territory which was subsequently removed on September 27 after Chinese officials met India officials in New Delhi and a decision to restore status quo to September 1 was taken.      

Some Chinese workers, who were constructing a road on their side, also crossed into the Indian side in Chumur in Ladakh and claimed that they had orders to build a road up to Tible, 5-km deep inside Indian territory.           

These incidents occurred at a time with the Chinese President was on a three-day visit to India from September 17.

The IAF chief said the frequent face-offs between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) occur due to differences of perception on boundary between the two countries.            

"There are differences in perception as to where is the LAC... This is leading to face-offs. However, our security forces are following policies," he said.      

Asserting that India was "not giving ground to anyone", Raha said measures are being taken to build military infrastructure along the border with China.      

A fighter aircraft base is coming up at Nyoma in Ladakh, which take about five years to be completed.            

Another base would come up in Kargil, he said, adding that the funds will be released soon for it.      

"These bases are strategically important for us and will improve our capabilities," he said.        

Upgrade of six airfields in the northeast is also being carried out and the work will be completed by the end of 2015.

That would allow air force to operate aircraft from there for swifter force mobilisation, Raha said.

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