Tawang Clash: Indian Air Force To Conduct Massive Exercise In Northeast Amid Tensions With China In Arunachal
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will conduct a massive exercise in the northeast amid renewed tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on 9 December. Reports say this is the first major clash between the two sides since the skirmish in the Galwan Valley in 2020.
India had notified a no-fly-zone for the exercise just days before the clashes took place in Tawang's Yangtse area.
A no-fly zone has been notified over much of Arunachal Pradesh and parts of the adjoining states — Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur.
According to the notification issued by India earlier this month, the exercise will likely take place on 15 and 16 December. The map below shows the area in which the exercise will be conducted.
There has been an increase in air activity on both sides of the LAC in recent weeks. In the weeks leading up to the clashes in Tawang, the IAF had to scramble its Su-30 MKI fighters deployed in the region to deter Chinese drones from approaching Indian positions along the LAC.
According to a report, the IAF had to launch fighter jets on at least two to three occasions to deter Chinese drones.
The latest satellite images of China's dual-use Shigatse Airport show that the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAF) has maintained a large deployment of fighter and unmanned aerial vehicles at the base. It is located around 150 km north of India's frontier with Tibet.
Indian air refuelers have also been spotted flying in the northeast, which indicates that the IAF has increased its activity in the region.
India has deployed multiple squadrons of fighters in the northeast region, including the newly-inducted Rafale aircraft at the Hashimara Air Base in West Bengal. It has also operationalised the S-400 air defence system in the Assam in recent months, reports say.
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