The Indian Air force (IAF) has deployed four Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets to Hasimara, a forward air base in north Bengal, close to the Indo-Bhutan border, due to ongoing tensions with China.
According to a report by offiziere.ch, a satellite image was first captured in October but it’s possible they may have arrived earlier. Imagery in August 2017 shows that workers covered the alert revetments on both ends of the runway preventing EO observation, the report said.
An exclusive satellite images continues to show a heavy People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ground presence east of the Doka La border crossing and in areas that could reinforce troops in the disputed Bhutanese territory. Although, both the governments announced on August 28 last year , that they had agreed to withdraw their troops from the disputed tri-junction area.
The Sukhoi jets join the already existing Squadron of MIG-27ML/UPG fighters. The base also deploys two squadrons of the Jaguar combat aircraft and one squadron of the MiG-21 Bison. It was reported in September 2017 that the Hasimara air base would also see Rafale planes deployment, replacing the exisiting MiG 27 squadrons.
The Ambala base is considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF as the Indo-Pak border is around 220 km from it.