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IAF upgradation, nothing to do with China: EAC chief

Tezpur air base. A file photo.

SHILLONG (PTI): The Eastern Air Command (EAC) would induct new aircraft and upgrade Advanced Landing Grounds in a significant face-lift, but the modernization had nothing to do with China," the Commandís chief said on Monday.

Eastern Air Command's Air Marshal S K Bhan, in reply to a question at a press conference, said the upgradation had nothing to do with any threat from China.

"India has no intention of going to war with any country. But if the thrust is on us, we will respond," he said.

On the reported threat from China, he said, "there are agencies which are monitoring it. But we are prepared and evaluating our capabilities. We definitely have to keep watch on our neighbours."

Around half a complement of the Sukhoi squadron have arrived at the Tezpur airbase and have started flying and a full squadron would be in place there by the year end, he said.

Bhan said once the medium multi-role combat aircraft deal was through, the Air Force would deploy some squadrons in the eastern sector. Currently, trials were being conducted with aircraft of six manufacturers for the 126 aircraft deal.

Bhan said the Eastern Command would be modernised by 2015, which would reduce dependence on the Western sector.

The EAC chief said new radars, missile systems and communication systems were being inducted into the sector.

All airfields were also being upgraded in terms of ground-based avionics to reduce the difficulty arising out of hazardous terrain and weather conditions.

Several ALGs in Arunachal Pradesh were in the process of being upgraded for new transport aircraft and heavy duty helicopters.

"An MoU has been signed between the Ministry of Defence and Arunachal Pradesh government. The state government is now identifying land as per our requirements," Bhan said.

Stating that now only three ALGs could house ATR aircraft, he said the upgraded ALGs would also help civil airlines.

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