The Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) airstrip being used in the ongoing dispute in eastern Ladakh near the China border was reactivated by the Indian Air Force (IAF)
without taking written permission of the ruling UPA government as they denied it repeatedly, says former Vice Chief Air Marshal (Retd) Pranab Kumar Barbora.
DBO is critical for Air Force operations to transport troops and materials. It is one of the highest advanced landing grounds in the world at an altitude of over 16,800 feet. Large cargo aircrafts of the IAF like AN-32 and the C-130J Super Hercules use this airstrip.
The airstip was in regular use till the 1965 but later fell into disuse. However, Air Marshal (Retd) Pranab Kumar Barbora revealed that the request from the IAF to reactivate the important airstrip was repeatedly denied by the UPA government.
Speaking to ANI, he said "..43 years had gone by, and there was no clearance to re-operate from there because of so many reasons and every time there was no no no". "Since there was nothing in writing (about reactivating the airstrip), the government was informed through proper channel only after the landing was done and I returned from there," Barbora told ANI.
He said that when the airstrip was reactivated by India, the Chinese wanted to hold discussions about it through a flag meeting but despite India agreeing to it, the Chinese never came to discuss it. It is suspected that the UPA government was more worried about the Chinese opinion than the need of the IAF and our troops.