DEHRADUN : Amid the border tensions with China and Nepal, the Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to set up air defence radars in three districts of Uttarakhand, including Chamoli, Pithoragarh and Uttarkashi. Air Marshal Rajesh Kumar, AOC-in-C, Central Air-Command, discussed the land transfer for setting up the radars with Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat in Dehradun on Friday. A statement released by the Chief Minister’s office said: “The Air Marshal requested the Chief Minister to make the land available for extension of airports in Pantnagar, Jolly Grant and Pithoragarh along with a new airport in Chaukhutia.”
Following this, the government and the IAF have decided to appoint their respective nodal officers, who will work jointly, to identify the land. The Air Marshal added that the facilities for the radars and airstrips at appropriate sites in Uttarakhand were essential in view of the current situation at the borders.State government officials informed the IAF that land has been identified in Bhaisoli village of Almora district for setting up an Air Defence Radar and the process for its availability will be expedited after identification of sites at other places.
In July, the Uttarakhand government had sent a proposal to the Union government, requesting the IAF to prepare at least three advanced landing grounds at the border areas of the state to help armed forces transport troops and material to the border. The proposal says that the IAF should develop the airstrips in Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh for military and civilian purposes.
In 2018, a joint team of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army visited the state and submitted a report saying that if developed fully, the Chinyali Saud airstrip in Uttarkashi could be used for landing of military aircraft such as C-130J Super Hercules and Antonov 32.