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India-China Clash: Indian Air Force Deploys Combat Air Patrols To Foil Chinese Air Incursions, Stays Alert Over Border

A number of Chinese drones flew close to the India-China border, called Line of Actual Control (LAC), prompting the Indian Air Force (IAF) to scramble the jets and increase the overall combat readiness. This happened on the same day Indian and Chinese ground troops clashed at the border in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang area.

Indian Air Force fighter aircraft
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Following increased air activity by Chinese on their side of India-China border, the Indian Air Force (IAF) last week deployed air combat patrols to check any Chinese air incursions in the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh. 

People aware of the developments told PTI that Indian fighter planes were deployed on Friday after Chinese deployed some aerial platforms including drones in the region to unilaterally change the status quo in the Yangtse area of the Tawang sector.

The aerial activity closely coincided with the India-China clash on ground in Arunachal's Tawang sector. On Friday, Chinese soldiers attempted to cross the border in Yangtse area with the intention to unilaterally change the status quo in the area, but they were challenged by the Indian soldiers and the attempt was foiled, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday.

A source indicated that there were more than 200 Chinese soldiers involved and they were carrying spiked clubs and sticks, and injuries on the Chinese side could be higher. But there was no official word on the same. There were also minor injuries on the Indian side.

Chinese aerial provocation

A number of Chinese drones flew close to the India-China border, called Line of Actual Control (LAC), prompting the IAF to scramble the jets and increase the overall combat readiness, according to the people aware of the developments.

They said the IAF has also stepped up its overall surveillance in areas in view of the Chinese attempt of transgression on Friday, adding it follows standard operation procedures (SOPs) that included scrambling of fighter jets in case of specific security concerns.

"The situation is being monitored closely by both the IAF and the Army," said one of the people cited above.

The people indicated that the IAF has increased the frequency of sorties by its combat jets in the region.

Fresh escalation in India-China stand-off

The Friday's Arunachal border clash was the first since 2020 when Indian and Chinese personnel clashed in Eastern Ladakh.

India and China are lodged in a border stand-off since early 2020 when Chinese soldiers crossed the LAC and occupied India-claimed territories in Eastern Ladakh. There have been multiple skirmishes. The bloodiest one was on June 20, 2020, in Eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley in which 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers were killed. 

Air Force Chief keeping an eye on situation

It is learnt that Chief of Air Staff V R Chaudhari reviewed the IAF's operational readiness following the December 9 incident.

The IAF increased its overall strength in various key bases in the eastern theatre including in Tezpur where a fleet of Su-30 jets were deployed.

A squadron of Rafale jets is based in Hasimara air base in West Bengal and it carries out sorties in areas under the eastern theatre as well. 

(With PTI inputs)

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