By Ambuj Pandey
New Delhi [India], June 7 (ANI): The Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) airstrip being used in the ongoing dispute in eastern Ladakh near the China border was reactivated by the Indian Air Force (IAF) without taking written permission of the government, says former Vice Chief Air Marshal (Retd) Pranab Kumar Barbora.
DBO is the world's one of the highest advanced landing grounds at an altitude of over 16,800 feet and its strip can be used for landing aircraft like the AN-32 and the C-130J Super Hercules.
"Since there was nothing in writing (about reactivating the airstrip), the government was informed through proper channel only after the landing was done and I returned from there," Barbora told ANI when asked about the reactivation of the airfield by the IAF without seeking permission from the government.
On how did the government react when they came to know that the airfield has been reactivated without their knowledge, Barbora said: "The government asked why did you do it? We said it is the Air Force's responsibility to maintain troops' logistics:"
He said that when the airstrip was reactivated by India, the Chinese wanted to hold discussions about it through a flag meeting but despite India agreeing to it, the Chinese never came to discuss it.
He said the then Defence Minister had also asked him what he would tell the Chinese if they raise questions about it during his visit to China where he was taking the earthquake relief supplies.
Barbora said the Chinese never raised the issue with the Defence Minister during that visit.
Elaborating on the reasons for not taking permission from the Defence Ministry, he said that after 1962 when it was opened, "there were no more operations after 1965. So, practically three years we operate and when we had to close it down because we did not have an aircraft."
Barbora said that in the older times after 1965, the proposal to reactivate the airfield had been rejected.
"So, 43 years had gone by, and there was no clearance to re-operate from there because of so many reasons and every time there was no no no ...," he said.
Barbora said that he had studied the project and "I requested the field officer who was doing the para-dropping, etc., and flying transport through helicopters, to review everything." ANI
IAF reactivated DBO airstrip without Centre's permission, says Air Marshal (Retd) Pranab Kumar Barbora
ANI | Updated: Jun 07, 2020 21:01 IST
By Ambuj Pandey