30 July : 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 ‘Moonland’.
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 the news agency.
“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.