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Border incursions during Xi's visits mysterious: IAF chief

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said yesterday it was "mysterious" how incursions by Chinese troops into Indian territory took place during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit."It is
IANS
IANS October 05, 2014 7:36 IST

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said yesterday it was "mysterious" how incursions by Chinese troops into Indian territory took place during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit.

"It is always mysterious... the way incursions get timed with visits," Air Chief Marshal Raha said, responding to a question in the recent incursion by Chinese troops in Ladakh area of jammu and Kashmir.

"In diplomacy, there is little of signalling done, especially so with our northern neighbour, but I am not going to guess. The questions that arises is why the incursion took place when the senior-most leader of their country's hierarchy was here," Raha, who is also the chairman of Chiefs of Staffs Committee (COSC), told reporters at the annual press conference ahead of Air Force Day Oct 8.

He, however, did not name any leader.

Chinese soldiers intruded into Indian territory in Chumar area of Ladakh last month while President Xi was here on a three-day visit. The issue was raised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Chinese president, and the two sides announced that they would settle the festering boundary issue as soon as possible.

The military stand-off ended earlier this week and both sides have now withdrawn their troops.

Raha however clarified that India was "not giving ground to anyone", and blamed the frequent face-offs between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control on differences of perception between the two countries over the actual position.

"There are differences in perception as to where is the LAC. This is leading to face-offs. However, our security forces are following policies. We are not giving ground to anyone," he said.

Asked about plans for improving IAF's infrastructure in areas along India-China border, the IAF chief said government has approved several plans.

Among these is having a air strip at Nyoma in Ladakh which may take five years to complete, and upgrading the Kargil air strip.

"Upgrading of infrastructure in the north eastern region includes putting in place more radars, sensors, and surface to air missiles. The area has been underdeveloped for long, in another five years the air force will be capable," he said.

Raha also expressed concern over delays in several projects which are being indigenously developed but expressed hope that the Narendra Modi government may expedite the processes.

"Design and development are taking longer than they should be. There is a constant effort to ensure projects are not delayed, yet it happens, whether it is LCA (Light Combat Aircraft), FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft) or MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft)," he said.

"We have lost time lines. Time have been over run more than once, it is definitely a concern," he said.

The IAF chief said it is government's responsibility to ensure the processes are completed in time.

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