An Indian Air Force AN-32 transport aircraft landed at Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground in the Leh-Ladhak region on Friday, signalling the ability of the country to move troops close to the border with China.

An Indian Air Force AN-32 transport aircraft landed at Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Leh-Ladhak region on Friday, signalling the ability of the country to move troops close to the border with China.

Group Captain S.C .Chafekar touched down on the Nyoma airstrip located at an altitude of 13,300 feet with Air Marshal N.A.K. Browne, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, and Lieutenant General P.C. Bharadwaj, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, at 6.25a.m., a Western Air Command spokesperson said here.

Though helicopters have been landing at this ALG, this is the first time that a fixed wing aircraft has landed at the compacted airstrip of Nyoma, located 23 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

After deliberating on all aspects and carrying out aerial and ground reconnaissance, the IAF decided that Nyoma could be developed for fixed wing operations as well.

Joint effort

The challenging task of developing the ALG to the standards required for fixed wing operations was undertaken by the Engineer Regiments of 14 Corps. Today’s development marks the culmination of joint effort by the IAF and the Army to enable the IAF to operate in the inhospitable terrain of Leh-Ladakh region in support of the Army.

Joint development of Nyoma braving the extremely difficult working conditions and hostile weather is yet another step towards enhanced jointmanship between the two services.

Nyoma has been developed with an aim to connect the remote areas of the Ladakh region to the mainland. This would also ensure that movements in the area continue when the road traffic gets affected, during the harsh winters besides enabling improved communication network in the region, facilitating economical ferrying of supplies as well as promotion of tourism to the general area.

The landing comes just 15 months after an AN-32 landed at Daulat-Beg-Oldie (DBO), the highest airfield in the world situated at an altitude of 16,200 feet.

The move also comes close on the heels of recent reports of alleged incursions by the Chinese troops into Indian side even as New Delhi maintained the this issue was to be seen in the context that there was no mutually agreed LAC between the two countries.

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