Indian Air Force: Three units of the IAF receive summons from the Chief for Role in East Ladakh

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Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary on Friday awarded three squadrons of the Indian Air Force for their role in strengthening the Indian military presence in East Ladakh last year following the military standoff with China in the region.

The units that have received the Chief of Air Staff’s quote are No. 47 Squadron, which is equipped with MiG-29 fighter aircraft, the 116 Helicopter Unit, and the 2255 Squadron, which is the surface-to-air guided missile OSA-AK-M operates, officials said.

The units were honored during the 89th Air Force Day celebrations at Hindon Air Force Base on the outskirts of the state capital.

Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a border conflict in several areas in eastern Ladakh for almost 17 months, despite the fact that the two sides have separated on a number of points of friction.

Squadron No. 47, founded in 1959, is currently equipped with the improved MiG-29 aircraft. After the Balakot air strikes in February 2019, the squadron was used for the air defense role.

“The squadron flew extensively and kept vigil to ensure that there were no mishaps of our opponents … In May 2020, the squadron was deployed for air defense as well as for air-to-ground operations in the northern sector and carried out extensive operations at high altitudes “said one officer.

The 116 Helicopter Unit, founded in August 1967, is equipped with the Advanced Light Helicopter (Mark IV) Rudra.

Officials said the unit was used for offensive operations at a high-altitude airfield in the Ladakh region following clashes between Indian and Chinese forces in the Galwan Valley.

“The unit quickly established the region’s first high-altitude helicopter detachment and carried out day and night operations, including high-altitude air-to-ground weapons deliveries,” the official said.

The 2255 Squadron Det is an OSA-AK-M, a surface-to-air guided missile unit.

The squadron was mobilized for air defense in Ladakh in response to the Galwan Valley standoff.

“Since then, the squadron has made various innovations to maintain the serviceability and reliability of its equipment. This has enabled it to maintain its operational readiness under harsh climatic conditions even through the harsh Ladakh winter,” said the official.

The border dispute between the Indian and Chinese militaries broke out on May 5 last year after a violent clash in the Lake Pangong area, and both sides gradually stepped up their operations by storming tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weapons.

The border dispute escalated after the clashes in the Galwan Valley on June 15 last year. Twenty members of the Indian army lost their lives in what was the worst military conflict between the two sides in decades.

In February, China officially admitted that five Chinese military officers and soldiers were killed in clashes with the Indian Army, although it is widely believed that the death toll was higher.

After the escalation of tensions in East Ladakh in mid-June last year, the IAF deployed almost all of its front-line fighter jets such as the Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000, as well as its attack helicopters at the main air force bases in East Ladakh and elsewhere along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, both sides completed the withdrawal process in Gogra and on the north and south banks of Lake Pangong.

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 soldiers along the LAC in the sensitive sector.

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