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SOURCE: THE WEEK

China is developing an airbase for fighter aircraft operations at Shakche town in Xinjiang province, close to the Eastern Ladakh area, reports said. Quoting government sources, ANI reported that the Chinese government is upgrading the existing airbase at Shakche town for fighter aircraft operations.

According to the new agency, the base is coming up between the airbases of Kashgar and Hogan and that the new base will fill up the gap for Chinese Air Force in this region. The new base would be ready for operations in the near future.

India is keeping a close watch on the developments as the military disengagement in the border areas after a prolonged face-off between the two countries is yet not complete.

According to ANI, the Chinese Air Force has been traditionally weak in this region of the LAC while India has a number of airfields in the relatively short distance.

China has recently strengthened its air defence in the area with the deployment of s-400 air defence system which they imported from Russia. India also has deployed a large number of systems along the LAC.

India and China were locked in a military standoff at multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh since early May last year. However, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong Lake in February following a series of military and diplomatic talks.

The two sides are now engaged in talks to extend the disengagement process to the remaining friction points.

There was no visible forward movement in disengagement of troops in the remaining friction points as the Chinese side did not show flexibility in their approach on it at the 11th round of military talks.

Last wee, India reiterated that only early completion of disengagement in the remaining friction points could pave the way for both Indian and Chinese troops to consider de-escalation and ensure full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas.