- The IAF has stayed on operational alert and made changes to its operational flight structures and deployment in order to deal with any possible threat from China.
- The Chinese have been acting aggressively all through 2022, and in the last few months, they have been flying more along the LAC.
Along the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh, where tensions are still high, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is doing its annual exercise to test its war-fighting skills and tactics.
This means that the IAF bases near Chhabua, Panagarh, Jorhat, Tezpur, and Hashimara, all in the state of Assam, and Hashimara, in the state of West Bengal, will all be used from December 15 to 16.
Starting today, a two-day drill at the Command level is being planned by the eastern command to test its operational capabilities in the sector and its tactics in different situations. The exercise, which started today, has both defensive and offensive parts. The defensive part is when air defence assets are turned on. There will be different operations for each scenario, and the early warning airborne aircraft will also be used.
In addition to the Rafale, which is based in Hashimara, West Bengal, and the Su-30MKI, this drill will also include Chinook helicopters, transport aircraft, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
India had already said that the North East would be a “no-fly zone” from December 15–19 because of the exercise in the eastern sector.
IAF says …
The IAF told the media on Thursday, December 15, 2022, that this was a planned routine exercise by the Eastern Command in its area of responsibility (AOR) from December 15-16.
The IAF says that this exercise was planned a long time ago and has nothing to do with what is going on in the Tawang sector. It is being done to train the IAF crew.
More about the exercise
It was planned a long time before the fight between the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA on December 9, 2022. It will show how ready the IAF is for operations and how quickly offensive and defensive strategies can be used in a given situation. There won’t be just one scenario; instead, there will be more than one.
As far as China is concerned, they are already on high alert and have put their airborne early-warning aircraft at the Shigatse airport in preparation for the IAF exercise in the eastern sector.
Once the IAF’s air defence systems and radars saw Chinese planes near the LAC and in their air space, they had to send out their fighter jets.
The Galwan incident in 2020, the IAF has stayed on operational alert and made changes to its operational flight structures and deployment in order to deal with any possible threat from China.
And to counter China’s “Anti Access Area Denial” (A2AD) strategy, the IAF has now set up both an offensive and a defensive deployment.
The Chinese have been acting aggressively all through 2022, and in the last few months, they have been flying more along the LAC. Reports say that in August of this year, top officers from the Air Forces of both countries met for the first time to talk about this issue.
Is there an agreement in place?
Yes. A deal between the two countries says that logistics helicopters can only fly as close as 1 km, while fighter jets or armed helicopters can fly as close as 10 km.