Ladakh: As India continues to be engaged in a military standoff with China for more than a year now, the Chinese Air Force recently carried out a big aerial exercise from its airbases opposite Eastern Ladakh which was watched closely by the Indian side.
“Around 21-22 of Chinese fighter aircraft mainly including the J-11s which are the Chinese copy of the Su-27 fighters and a few J-16 fighters held an exercise opposite the Indian territory in Eastern Ladakh,” defence sources told news agency ANI.
The exercise, which was held recently, was watched closely by the Indian side, they said.
The Chinese fighter aircraft activities took place from its bases including the Hotan, Gar Gunsa and Kashgar airfields which have been upgraded recently to enable operations by all types of fighters along with concrete structures to hide away the presence of the number of fighters present at its different airbases, the news agency reported quoting sources.
The sources said the Chinese aircraft remained well within their territory during the aerial drills. The Indian fighter aircraft activity in the Ladakh area has gone up significantly since last year.
“After the summer deployments of the Chinese troops and Air Force this year, the Indian Air Force has also been regularly deploying detachments of its fighters including the MiG-29s in Ladakh,” the report quoted the sources further saying.
The Indian Air Force also regularly flies Rafale fighters over the Ladakh skies which have boosted the Indian capability all along the Line of Actual Control as 24 of these planes are already in the Indian inventory now.
The report quoting sources said that even though the Chinese have withdrawn troops from the Pangong lake area, they have not moved their air defence systems including the HQ-9 and HQ-16 which can target aircraft at long ranges.
India closely watched the activities of the Chinese Air Force including the airfields in Hotan, Gar Gunsa, Kashghar, Hopping, Dkonka Dzong, Linzhi and Pangat airbases in the Xinjiang and Tibet region.