The inauguration of the upgraded Pasighat Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Arunachal Pradesh is a big strategic boost for India. It is also a major fillip to India’s defence capabilities in a state that shares border with China. On Friday, a Sukhoi-30 MKI landed at the ALG, in what the Indian Air Force (IAF) has termed a ‘historic first’. Sukhoi-30 MKI is a frontline fighter jet of the IAF. Arunachal Pradesh has several ALGs at varying altitudes. According to an IAF release, the new runway surface and other infrastructure that have been built are similar to the other upgraded ALGs that have been inaugurated in the recent months.
The upgraded landing ground has Air Traffic Control Tower, aprons for ground manoeuvring, perimeter road and a security wall. The ALG is expected to facilitate operations of fixed wing aircraft as well as helicopters for both military and civil operators. Pasighat ALG is a strategic asset and would be one of the operating bases under the Eastern Air Command capable of operating all types of aircraft and helicopters. India is shoring up its defence capabilities along the border and also in the seas to check China. Reports suggest that India is even deploying spy drones and missiles in the North-East. Additionally, to counter China, India recently placed an order for four more Boeing P-8I (Poseidons) long-range surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. P-8Is are often called the “hawk eyes” of the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean region.
The upgraded ALG at was inaugurated by MoS Home Kiren Rijiju in the presence of Air Marshal C Hari Kumar, Air Officer Commanding-in-chief (AOC-in-C), Eastern Air Command. Rijiju called it a “red-letter day” in Arunachal Pradesh’s history. According to him the upgraded ALG, which is at a distance of nearly 120 km from the China border, will apart from being a strategic asset for IAF, also provide valuable back-up to a state where surface connectivity is still a problem.