The Chinese Air Force has deployed more than two dozen frontline aircraft at its Hotan airport near the eastern Ladakh sector. According to government sources, the Chinese Air Force has kept 25 frontline fighter aircraft at Hotan Airport. This includes its J-11 and J-20 fighter aircraft.

“China earlier used to have a contingent of MiG-21 class fighters, but now they have been replaced by a large number of more capable and advanced aircraft,” a source said.

The Chinese Air Force is building new airfields close to Indian territory, which could enable it to carry out missions from low altitudes. US General Charles A Flynn recently said that the level of Chinese activities is eye-opening. “I think some of the infrastructure being built at the Western Theater Command is dangerous,” he said.

Indian agencies are closely monitoring the activities of the Air Force of the People’s Liberation Army, which extends from Ladakh in the north to Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast along the Line of Actual Control with India. Apart from Hotan, Indian agencies are also keeping a close watch on PLAAF’s Gar Gunsa, Kashghar, Hoping, Dakonka Dzong, Linzhi and Panghat airbases in Xinjiang and Tibet regions.

The Chinese PLAAF has been upgrading these bases in recent times with the construction of stronger shelters, extension of runway length to carry out larger operations and deployment of additional forces. PLC/GT


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