After recent altercations at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Indian Air Force has been actively flexing its muscles over the skies of Ladakh.
The IAF has been keeping a close eye on the border with the help of its advanced fighter, transport and helicopter units.
The tussle between the two nations started in late May 2020 when Chinese forces objected to the construction of a road by India near the Galwan River Valley. Following which, Chinese Army deployed thousands of troops and captured 38,000 sq km of Indian territory, as per the information provided by the Indian Army.
This resulted in massive clashes between the soldiers of both the nations and on June 15, when troops from 16 Bihar Regiment headed by Colonel Santosh Babu went out to hold a discussion with the Chinese side to convince them to stick to their promise and return back, a huge clash broke out between the two sides and around twenty Indian soldiers were martyred in this clash.
The Indian Army has already increased its build up to counter aggressive Chinese moves in the high mountains and plateau regions bordering the Aksai Chin and western Tibet. To support the Indian Army, the IAF has deployed its recently inducted aircraft fleet on the border to give a befitting reply if PLA tries to impinge into Indian Territory.
There are also reports of the IAF’s new Rafales from Ambala are also carrying out sorties over the mountains, both in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, even though no photographs are available. As per the recent information available, IAF has been conducting sorties of Chinook, MiG 29 and C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft over Leh and Ladakh.
Indian Army has also moved tanks, ammunition, heavy weaponry, food, fuel and essential winter supplies to high-altitude regions of Eastern Ladakh. This rapid buildup is done in order to be combat ready if situation arises. On 10th October, Indian Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster landed on Leh airbase with the essential supplies for the troops deployed in that area.
C-17 fleet is one of the most vital and important arm of the IAF and has performed various operations during crunch situations. Operated by No.81 Squadron called Sky Lords, the aircraft since its induction in 2013, has been performing number of tasks such as IAF operations , Indian Army missions, peacekeeping support, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations for India and abroad.