Drass (J&K): As part of moves to speedily build communication infrastructure on the Chinese frontier, IAF has finalised plans to set up another airstrip in Ladakh.
IAF is planning to set up a full-fledged airstrip at
Niyoma near the district capital Leh to strengthen air
maintenance for far-flung posts as well as to give a boost to
tourism in the picturesque area, often referred to as
The Airforce, as part of its forward policy, has
already recommissioned two airstrips at Daulat Begh Oldi near
the Karakoram pass and at Fukche in central Ladakh and Niyoma
would be the third airbase to come up, according to Air
Officer Commanding (AOC), Jammu and Kashmir, Air Marshal J
Chouhan told agency here.
"After Daulat Begh Oldi airbase, another one is
coming up in Indus valley in Niyoma where we are developing an
airstrip," he said.
"We will carry out trial landings probably later this
year. Building an airfield is a massive job. To make it
operational, it will take some more time," the officer said.
The project also aims at boosting tourism sector.
"This air strip could be used both for tourism and for our own
purpose," Chouhan said.
Referring to the need of this airstrip, he said "it is a
central place for security set up and also for tourist sector.
Besides, Niyoma is well connected with roads from all sides
via Manali and Leh".
"Since a large number of tourists come here, it could be
developed as a big airport in future. At present, people can
land only at Leh," he said.
"Opening up of land strips and helipads along Sino-India
border is a normal build up and an exercise to ensure that
land is available for the army operations," Chouhan said.
"These (army operations) are priorities so whatever is
on priority we will start working on those aspects," he said.
The IAF has already made operational an old Daulat
Begh Oldi airbase along the Sino-India border in mountainous
Ladakh region last year on May 31. The base was revived after
On that day, an AN-32 transporter plane, carrying
Air Officer Commanding-In-Chief (Western Air Command) P K
Barbora, landed at the Daulat Begh Oldi airstrip around 0850
hours after flying from Chandigarh.
The airbase was set up in 1962 during the India-China
war and closed in 1965.