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IAF begins mega air exercise in Northeastern region

Sukhoi-30MKI fighters of Indian Air Force. (File photo)

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Air Force has kick-started a mega exercise covering the Northeastern region to check its combat readiness amid a fresh spike in tension with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh.

The IAF's frontline fighter aircraft including the Rafale and Su-30MKI aircraft, and other assets deployed in the region are engaged in the exercise named 'Poorvi Aakash'.

"Eastern Air Command has commenced its annual Command level exercise Ex- POORVI AKASH today. Conducted after a gap of two years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ex will involve activation of the Command's assets for routine practice of aerial drills, including joint exercises," the IAF's Eastern Air Command tweeted.

The Shillong-headquartered Eastern Air Command is carrying out the exercise.

There has been a fresh spike in tension between India and China after troops from the two sides engaged in the clash along the LAC at Yangtse in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament on December 13 that the Chinese troops tried to "unilaterally" change the status quo in the Yangtse area but the Indian Army compelled them to retreat by its firm and resolute response.

The incident took place amid the over 31-month border standoff between the two sides in eastern Ladakh.

All frontline air bases and some key Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in the Northeast are being involved in the exercise.

The Army and IAF have been maintaining a high state of operational readiness along the Line of Actual Control with China in the Arunachal Pradesh and the Sikkim sector for over two years following the eastern Ladakh row.

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