China’s activities in Tibet – UPSC GS2

China is upgrading defence infrastructure in the Tibetan plateau to nullify the disadvantages that its airpower has in comparison to the Indian airpower. This would afford them a layered air defence setting and affect the balance of power in the medium to long term.
What China is doing?
  • Rapid upgradation of aviation infrastructure in Tibet.
  • Upgradation of airfields, construction of hardened aircraft shelters, new runways etc.
  • China realised its weakness in Air Power in Tibet during 2020 clash.
Why IAF had upper hand in 2020 clash?
  • IAF is trained for offensive roles in combat. The equipment accretion profile is a pointer to the offensive role as seen by the acquisition of Jaguars, Mirage-2000, Sukhois, and now the Rafale.
  • Indian Air Force’s (IAF) aircraft enjoys the advantage of a string of airfields all along the foothills of the Himalayas. They are at low altitudes which permit carrying of a full armament load.
  • Chinese airfields in Tibet were few, widely spaced out, and hence not mutually supportive. There were gaps in the air defence structure too, that the IAF would utilise to interdict targets in the rear.
  • Most Tibetan airfields are at altitudes above 10,000 ft, severely restricting the payload of People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (PLAAF) aircraft.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top