Indian airforce lands C-17 globemaster aircraft in Arunachal Pradesh to secure region from Chinese standoff

Mechuka,Nov4:The Indian Air Force landed its largest military transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster at Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh close to the India-China border on Thursday at an elevation of 6,200 feet above sea level. The arrival of the  aircraft gave a further boost to the IAF’s transport capabilities. The Mechuka air strip called the ‘Advanced Landing Ground’ (ALG), is maintained by the Indian Air Force and will be one of its key forward bases along the China border.

The road connectivity to the nearest air/rail head at Dibrugarh, about 500 km away which takes  two days of travel, unless the roads get damaged due to frequent landslides.

Mechuka, located at an elevation of about 1830 metres above sea level and close to China border, was one of the several strategic locations during the 1962 war with China. Abandoned for a long time until a decision was taken in 2013 to reconstruct it, the IAF Works department completed the task in a record time of 30 months.

In the event of a disaster in the region, C-17 operations to the remote ALG can enhance the speed and quantum of national relief effort.

About 500 km by road from Itanagar, Mechuka is only 29 km from the China border and is already part of a major tourist circuit in the frontier state.

The IAF has carried out such daring maneuvers before. Back in 2013, India landed the C-130J Super Hercules at the world’s highest and recently-activated Daulat Beg Oldie airstrip in Ladakh near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in what was seen as a strong message to China.

The landing of C-17 Globemaster in Arunachal Pradesh shows the IAF’s growing commitment to secure its international borders along the India-China border as well as the far-flung North-East region. The C-13J, the largest aircraft with the Indian Air Force, has the capacity to carry 102 para-troopers and cargo such as tank and Armored Security Vehicles, among others. The plane has a payload capacity of 77, 520 kg.