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Defence Minister visits Arunachal, Assam; Witnesses "Gagan Shakti" combat drill

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accompanied by Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa during her visit to air force station Chabua to witness the ongoing "Gagan Shakti" combat drill. Photo: IAF/Twitter

TEZPUR, ASSAM (PTI): Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday visited the Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh to inspect the Indian Air Force's Advanced Landing Ground at Pasighat there, a defence spokesman said.

Sitharaman also visited the Chabua IAF base station in Assam's Dibrugarh to witness its “Gagan Shakti” Exercise 2018, a pan-India exercise which is in its second phase.

"The scale and scope of #GaganShakti2018 is enormous & like never-before. Given here are only glimpses. Kudos to @IAF_MCC, CAS Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and to all #AirWarriors. @DefenceMinIndia.

"Today at #GaganShakti2018. Appreciate the detail and exhaustive plan with which @IAF_MCC is executing this monumental exercise. Our #AirWarriors displayed agility& great team spirit," Sitharaman tweeted.

The Minister inspected operations of SU-30MKI fighter aircraft, C-17 Globemaster aircraft and rocket loading on Mi-17 V5 helicopters at Pasighat, defence spokesperson Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande said.

She also witnessed an assault drill by the IAF's “Garud” commandos.

The Minister visited the Air to Ground weapons range at Dullong Mukh, where the strike package of Su-30 aircraft was displayed.

Mi-17V5 Helicopters also demonstrated their strike capability delivering 80mm rockets on a simulated target, the spokesman said.

Sitharaman then visited Chabua, interacted with the air warriors and was also briefed on employment of Air Power in the defence of Eastern Sector, he said.

The Defence Minister has been visiting various Air Force establishments to gauge the operational capability and preparedness of the IAF.

Stating that Gagan Shakti-2018 is a large-scale IAF exercise which is currently in its second phase, the defence spokesperson said that the assets have now been deployed along the northern region and operations are taking place in full swing.

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