Dehra Dun: An airstrip at Chinyalisair in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, initially made to cater to the needs of tourist and pilgrim traffic to the region, but mostly lying unused as air transportation companies did not take much interest for starting either small plane or chopper flights to the area, because of lack of high end tourists wanting to visit the area, may finally be taken over by the Indian Air Force.
With a lot of activity by China in the Tibet area of China bordering India and fears that with improved connectivity in its region, China could transport men and material to the border quickly and more effectively, the Indian government has finally woken up to the need of improving the connectivity on its areas bordering China, lest it be caught napping like in 1962.
While initiative has already been taken to construct about 76 roads to improve the connectivity in the region, the Indian Air Force also held trial landing of the transport AN 32 aeroplane at the airstrip on Saturday.
It also had trial landings for MI 70 and other helicopters, which brought some specialist and seasoned pilots who took a recce of the airstrip to ascertain its capacity and capability.
Informed sources said that the initial survey was being done to check whether the airstrip could be expanded and converted into a full fledged airbase for the border area and also to meet the needs of the army should there be any outbreak.
The transport AN 32 aircraft was flown specially from the Bareilly airbase of the IAF to check the present landing capacity of the airstrip, so that men and machinery could later be airlifted for making it a full fledged air base.
Though made by the aviation department of the state government with a view of opening the region to high end tourists, the airstrip was literally sealed off for civilians as army and airforce personnel were air lifted to the airstrip.
After the air force personnel made a surveillance of the run way of the airstrip, the transport aeroplane made four landings and take offs to ensure that it was viable for development by the IAF as a border air base.
Sources said that after the issue of handing over the airstrip to the IAF was taken over by the ministry of defence with the Uttarakhand government, the runway would be strengthened and developed further for landing and taking off of fighter aircrafts.
The run way would also be broadened and strengthened to allow landing and take off of broad-bodied transport planes so that heavy equipment and machine required by the army could also be brought in by air.