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India-China border clash: Indian Air Force closely monitoring situation at Himalayan border

The Indian Army said troops from the two sides clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC.

FILE PHOTO: An Indian Army truck drives along a road to Tawang, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), neighbouring China, near Sela Pass in India’s Arunachal Pradesh state on October 21, 2021. (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

The Indian Air Force scrambled fighter jets last week following China’s increasing air activities on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday (13).

The deployment of some aerial platforms including drones by China in the region preceded the Chinese attempts on December 9 to unilaterally change the status quo in the Yangtse area of the Tawang sector, they said.

The people said a number of Chinese drones flew close to the LAC prompting the IAF to scramble the jets and increase the overall combat readiness.

They said the IAF has also stepped up its overall surveillance in areas in view of the Chinese attempt of transgression on December 9, adding it follows standard operation procedures that included scrambling of fighter jets in case of specific security concerns.

“The situation is being monitored closely by both the IAF and the Army,” said one of the people cited above.

The people indicated that the IAF has increased the frequency of sorties by its combat jets in the region.

On Monday, the Indian Army said troops from the two sides clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang sector and the face-off led to “minor injuries to a few personnel from both sides”.

The face-off took place amid the over 30-month border standoff between the two sides in eastern Ladakh.

It is learnt that Chief of Air Staff V R Chaudhari reviewed the IAF’s operational readiness following the December 9 incident.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament on Tuesday that the Indian troops bravely thwarted the attempt by Chinese PLA to “unilaterally” change the status in the Yangtse area of the Tawang sector and there were no fatalities or serious casualties to the Indian troops in the scuffle.

“On December 9, PLA troops tried to transgress the LAC in the Yangtse area of Tawang sector and unilaterally change the status quo. The Chinese attempt was contested by our troops in a firm and resolute manner,” Singh said.

“The ensuing face-off led to a physical scuffle in which the Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from transgressing into our territory and compelled them to return to their posts,” he said.

It was the first major clash between the India and Chinese armies since August 2020 near Rinchen La in eastern Ladakh.

Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a brief face-off near Yangtse in October last year as well and it was resolved following talks between local commanders of the two sides as per established protocols.

The IAF increased its overall strength in various key bases in the eastern theatre including in Tezpur where a fleet of Su-30 jets were deployed.

A squadron of Rafale jets is based in Hasimara air base in West Bengal and it carries out sorties in areas under the eastern theatre as well.

(PTI)

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