Indo-China relations are at an all time low. India has not taken kindly to China’s backing of neighbours Pakistan, not to forget their skirmishes along the border in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh. China more often than not has been accused of showing unwanted aggression along the border areas. However in a major statement to China, India today landed the C-17 Globemaster plane in Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Arunachal Pradesh, just 29 kms from the Indo-Sino border.
Globemaster landing a major boost
The landing of the jumbo aircraft is seen as a major boost in the country’s rapid airlift capabilities. Experts see this as a major development at a time when China is rapidly developing infrastructure, military or otherwise, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The 55 m long aircraft can carry equipment weighing 80 tonnes and 150 fully-armed soldiers.
Not only that, 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. The road connectivity to the nearest air/rail head at Dibrugarh, about 500 km away, is generally two days of travel, unless the roads get damaged due to frequent landslides. IAF has plans to validate airlift operations to and from various ALGs in the region that would usher in a new dimension in enhanced disaster response.
It is expected that the trial landing will pave the way for operation of civil flights operating to and from the newly upgraded ALGs, which has an enormous potential to boost tourism by improving connectivity to remote locations in the North East.
About the C-17 Globemaster
Weighing over 128 tonnes and with a wingspan of 52m, the C-17 Globemaster is one of the largest transport carrier aircrafts in the world. It was developed by the United States Air Force (USAF) from the early 1980s to 1990s. The jumbo sized aircraft is mainly used for airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world; additional roles include medical evacuation and airdrop duties. Aside from the United States, the C-17 is in service with the United Kingdom, India, Australia, Canada, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, NATO Heavy Airlift Wing and Kuwait.