India nervous about China building world’s highest altitude airport in Himalayas

Chamdo Bamda Airport

New airports near India in the Himalayas would enhance China’s strategic airlift to Tibet area

East-Asia-Intel.com, September 25, 2013

China has announced that it will accelerate the construction of large new airports in the Himalaya mountain plateau.

China has built five airports in and around Tibet, and now is constructing the world’s highest altitude civilian airport in the strategic Himalayan region.

This development makes India very nervous as it means the enhancement of China’s strategic airlift to the Tibetan area, a large chunk of which is in dispute between the two countries.

These new airports will be able to handle all of China’s heavy military planes capable of flying at high altitudes.

Or as the Times of India puts it, “the rapid pace of the development of air infrastructure in Tibet coupled with rail and road development have raised concerns in India as it provides massive advantage to China to move its troops and equipment overcoming the adverse geographical problems in the remote region of the world.”

These airports will cut short the troop transport time from days, or weeks to no more than two hours from the PLA’s Chengdu Military Command, the rear echelon for all military operations in the Tibetan area.

Construction at the seventh such airport in the Golog Tibetan Prefecture is to begin immediately. Two weeks ago, the Dacheng Yading airport in the Tibetan region opened to great fanfare with the world’s second longest runway at 13,780 feet [almost as long as the runway at the JFK airport in NYC.]

Other regional airports available for the PLA operations are located in Tibet’s Gonggar, Lhasa, Bangda, Xigaze and Ngari.

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