Troops of India and China were engaged in two face-offs in Eastern Ladakh and North Sikkim along the disputed Line of Actual Control in the last few days where personnel from both sides suffered injuries. On Tuesday, news agency ANI reported that last week, the Indian Air Force was forced to rush its fighter jet patrols in Ladakh after Chinese military choppers were found to be flying close to the Line of Actual Control.
This happened around the same time the PLA troops and Indian army forces came to blows in the upper reaches of North Sikkim. "The Chinese military helicopters were flying very close to the Line of Actual Control. After their movement was picked up, the Indian Air Force fighter jets flew patrols in the area," government sources told ANI in New Delhi.
Government sources who requested anonymity due to knowledge of frontline operations informed that the Chinese choppers did not cross the LAC into Indian territory in that particular area. The IAF frequently flies its Sukhoi 30MKI fighter aircraft fleet from Leh airbase in Ladakh along with other planes. This latest development comes soon after the Indian security establishment noticed that Pakistani Air Force increased its patrols of F-16S and JF-17s along its Eastern Border with India, especially night sorties, after the Handwara terror attack that led to the death of 5 Indian security personnel.
Fear of retaliation by Indian forces was cited as the reason by Indian security establishment sources for this ramping up of PAF air patrols. The Indian Air Force has two main bases in the Ladakh union territory including the Leh and the Thoise airbase where fighter jets are not deployed permanently but detachments from combat aircraft squadrons are operational throughout the year.