Chinese fighter jets airborne close to Ladakh border

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Srinagar: India is keeping watching the movement of Chinese fighter aircraft flying around 30 kilometres from Eastern Ladakh amid the tense standoff between the neighbours at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

ANI has reported that nearly 10 to 12 Chinese fighter aircraft have been stationed at the PLA Air Force bases in Hotan and Gargunsa — close to the Eastern Ladakh area.

“Chinese have kept 10-12 each of their J-7 and J-11 fighter aircraft which are flying up to 30 kms of our territory. Though the distance maintained from the border is not threatening but we can’t take chances as they can come close to our areas within minutes,” the sources told ANI.

Sources in intelligence agencies, meanwhile, added that all gaps in surveillance capabilities have been plugged and a close watch is being kept on the Chinese air bases in the vicinity of Eastern Ladakh.

India had rushed its fighter aircraft to the Eastern Ladakh sector in the first week of May when an Indian Army chopper and Chinese helicopters were close to each other in air.

The Hotan base has been under the surveillance of the Indian agencies for almost a year now as the Pakistanis have been holding aerial exercise with the PLA Air Force at the base.

“Last year also, we had closely monitored a movement of six Pakistanis JF-17s that flew from the Skardu airfield opposite the western side of Ladakh in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir to Hotan where they took part in an exercise named Shaheen-8,” they said.

On the Indian side, the unmanned aerial vehicles of the Ladakh-based “surveillance and target acquisition batteries” of defence forces and intelligence agencies are using their Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to carry out reconnaissance of both sides of the LAC and Chinese positions along the Galwan Nala, the sources said.

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