These days you might be hearing a lot about the stand-off between India and China at the Ladakh LAC (Line of Actual Control). India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has stated that the administration is actively engaging Chinese to arrive at a cordial solution. Since the official statements from both the sides have said that they are looking for a peaceful resolution to the issue, it is desirable that people avoid speculating on the issue.
ALG – A Component of a Bigger Picture
However, considering the reality of the tension, it is important to look back how India has prepared itself to handle such tensions with China. The reopening of the Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG) may be one indicator among many which suggests that India has massively built capacity in the Modi era.
One can grasp the bigger picture if this development is seen with the other efforts over the years. Our earlier article Further Strengthening of the Border Roads Organization – What It Means for India had highlighted how a long-overdue requirement of border infrastructure in terms of roads and bridges is being fulfilled by the Modi government on war-footing. Anothera article India’s Necklace of Diamonds – Garlanding China took a deep dive to explain how India under Modi has built a strategic alliance to encircle China to defend its interests especially on the maritime front. India’s recent strategic pact with Australia takes this story further.
Advanced Landing Grounds
ALGs act as transportation hubs during peace time, and in case of contingencies like road closure, landslides, conflicts and war like situations the ALGs would act as launch bases for support of troops and replenishment of supplies. Many ALGs along the Indo-China border, however, had become dysfunctional. Post-2014 many ALGs have been revived and upgraded.
In August 2016, the Ministry of Defence in the Parliament said that four ALGs at Ziro, Along, Mechuka and Walong in Arunachal Pradesh have been reactivated by the Indian Air Force.
From time to time, media reports have indicated that a greater number of ALGs have opened up. In December 2018, Deccan Herald reported that seven Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs), which had remained abandoned since the 1962 war, have been upgraded, refurbished and are now ready for use.
In September 2019, the refurbished Vijayanagar ALG in Arunachal Pradesh also operationalised.
In April 2018, IAF also carried out a massive exercise Gaganshakti-2018 on these Advanced Landing Grounds.
You may come across many speculations in media, some of them pushed by the vested interests, on the present stand-off at Ladakh. But one thing you may assured of is the fact that India is well prepared on many fronts to handle tensions with China in recent years.