India is stepping up security in the north-eastern sector and is leaving no stones upturned. The Indian government has given the green light to IAF to build more bomb-proof hangars in the sector. The long delayed decision was cleared hastily by the Prime Minister’s Office. The project was awaiting approval but the earlier governments didn’t sanction it.
The decision comes just after Doklam standoff and IAF had highlighted the need of bomb-proof hangars. These hangars will be able to provide added protection to stationed aircrafts and equipment. The proposed hangars will be designed by DRDO and could withstand effects of 2000lb bombs.
Last year, a parliamentary committee on defense had warned of lack of bomb-proof hangars across the north-eastern corridor. Frequent tensions along the region have escalated the need furthermore. During the two and a half month long Doklam standoff, a crisis analysis showed that Chinese had a disadvantage operating fighters in the region.
The Chinese airfields in Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) currently do not possess bomb-proof shelters. The PLAAF fighters face extreme lift reduction in the high-altitude theater. This puts the chance of an all-out air offensive against India nearly at zero.
The project will cost about $750million with initial release of $150million. For security reasons the locations of the shelters are kept secret. IAF has strong presence in key north-east regions with the help of DOB airfield, SU-30MKI stationed at Tezpur. It also has key assets in Dibrugarh in Assam and Hashimara in West Bengal.
Indian air force already has 16 bomb-proof hangars for its front-line fighter SU-30MKI completed between 2004 and 2007. This could come as a shocker to PLAAF who enjoys low advantage over IAF in the region.