Indo-China Standoff: Hasimara Airbase in West Bengal under massive improvement drive for Rafale induction

Amid border tensions with China, IAF has undertaken a large scale modification and improvement program of Hasimara Air Force station situated in West Bengal, not far from Dokkam, an area that became a point of friction between the Indian Army and PLA in 2017.

By Harkirpal Singh, Updated : Feb 02, 2021 14:36 IST
Indo-China Standoff: Hasimara Airbase in West Bengal under massive improvement drive for Rafale induction
Hasimara Air Force Station, West Bengal

According to defense sources, the strategic Indian Air Force base at Hasimara has been undergoing large scale improvements in order to provide strategic advantage to India amid current India-China tensions. The base is located near the Dokklam border which became a point of contention between both countries in 2017.

Improvements at the Hasimara base began after the 2017 Dokklam Standoff,  however, the process has been ramped after the beginning of the Indo-China border tensions in 2020. This indicates India's changing strategic goals to enhance its ability towards defending against any territorial encroachments in the sector.

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In 2018-19, Hasimara Airforce station had a squadron of Mikoyan MiG-27 which were phased out. As of May 2020, the IAF has placed the Second Squadron of No. 101 Squadron IAF with the latest Dassault Rafale fighter jets at Ambala Air Force Station and Hasimara Air Force Station.

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The Airbase is situated at an elevation of 2,066 ft/630 m above mean sea level. It has one runway with concrete surfaces: 11R/29L measuring 9,000 by 148 feet (2,743 by 45 m). Extension and up-gradation of the base are going on for Rafale. Placing Rafale Close to the Chinese border will provide a large deterrence against PLAAF in that sector

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