Sunday, August 30, 2020

Lhasa Gonggar airport gets military upgrade amid India-China standoff in Ladakh

New Delhi: China is enhancing its military capabilities at the Lhasa Gonggar airport, renovating the surface-to-air missile (SAM) facilities and setting up hardened shelters for fighter jets and combat helicopters in addition to making a third airstrip, satellite images suggest.
The airport is used for military as well as civilian purposes.
Recent satellite images show how the facilities at the airport are being upgraded for use of air force amid the India-China tussle at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. The standoff started early May and the deadlock continues.
After India inducted special delivery of Rafales at Ambala Air Force Station, China started additional deployment of H-6 bombers and J-20 stealth fighters along with Y-20 strategic transporters opposite India.
The latest satellite images of Lhasa Gonggar dual-use airport indicate a flurry of activities to upgrade the airbase in every facet. The airport is 200km from the Arunachal border and 250km from the Sikkim border.
Although talks on disengagement have been taking place at the military and diplomatic level, China continues ramping up its military facilities.
Satellite images from August 27, 2020, indicate very hectic activity at the eastern end of the airbase.
There are almost 12 shelters, possibly for combat helicopters along with almost 24 hardened aircraft shelters for fighter aircraft.
Some new platforms for helicopter parking have also been observed.
29/08/20 Col Vinayak Bhat (Retired)/India Today
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