China is building an airport for fighter aircraft operations near the Eastern Ladakh area in Shakche, Xinjiang province. This aims to dissolve obstacles in its fighter aircraft operations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India.
“The base is coming up between the existing airbases of Kashgar and Hogan which have been carrying out fighter operations along the Indian borders for a long time. This new base for fighter operations will fill up the gap for the Chinese Air Force in this region,” government sources told news agency ANI.
The Shakche region already has an airbase that is being renovated for fighter aircraft operations. As reported by ANI, the base will be completed for fighter aircraft operations soon, and construction on it has accelerated.
The operationalization of the Shakche airport will bridge the 400km gap between existing air stations in China close to the LAC for fighter aircraft operations.
The Indian authorities are also keeping a tight eye on an airfield near the Uttarakhand-China border in Barahoti, where the Chinese have moved in a big number of unmanned aerial vehicles that are flying in the zone on a regular basis.
In terms of strike capacity, the Chinese Air Force has generally trailed behind in this region of the LAC as compared to India, which has an advantage over the Chinese side due to its various airfields along the LAC that are relatively close together.
However, with the deployment of S-400 air defence systems acquired from Russia, it has bolstered its air defence in the area.
The Indian side has also stationed a number of fighter aircraft in Leh and other frontier airbases in Ladakh, capable of fighting both China and Pakistan at the same time.
The deployment and operationalization of the Rafale fighter aircraft at the Ambala and Hashimara airbases have further boosted India’s preparedness against the Chinese.