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15th December 2022 (9 Topics)

Rafale, Sukhoi, Chinooks: IAF to launch massive exercise in Eastern sector


The Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will be carrying out a major two-day exercise to test its war-fighting capabilities and tactics.


  • The upcoming air exercise would be at the command level.
  • All its bases in the Eastern Command – which include those in Assam’s Tezpur, Chhabua, Jorhat, and Panagarh – would be activated.
  • The exercise is being held by the Eastern Air Command.

Eastern Air Command (EAC):

  • It has a specific mandate both during peace and war.
  • It controls air operations over a vast area that straddles 12 states.
    • It includes the seven northeastern states, Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar and parts of Orissa and Jharkhand covering over three lakh square kilometres.
  • The EAC also controls the air space over the 6300 Km long international boundary with China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.
  • The headquarters of EAC is housed in a spectacular location in Shillong, also called the ‘Scotland of the East’.
  • Fighter jets, transport aircraft, helicopters and UAVs will participate in the exercise.
  • Aircraft in action would include:
    • Rafale (France)
    • Sukhoi-30 MKI (Russia)
    • Chinooks (Boeing- U.S.)
  • IAF has put in place a full offensive and defensive deployment to counter China’s strategy of “Anti Access Area Denial (A2AD)”.
  • No-fly-zone agreement: As per the agreement between India and China, no fighter aircraft or armed helicopters can come within 10 kilometres of the LAC.
    • The limit for logistics helicopters is one kilometre.

China Response:

  • Chinese have increased their state of alertness in the wake of the IAF exercise.
    • They have deployed airborne early-warning aircraft at its Shigatse airport.
    • High deployment of long-range surveillance drones
  • China’s strategy of “Anti Access Area Denial (A2AD):
    • Anti-access challenges prevent or degrade a force's ability to enter an operational area and can be geographic, military, or diplomatic.
    • Area denial challenges are threats to forces within the operational area.

Steps that need to be taken:

  • India needs to build robust Infrastructure in difficult border areas in its territory to ensure the movement of personnel and other logistical supplies efficiently.
  • India needs to be vigilant enough for any new development in China near its border to protect its interests efficiently.
  • The two sides should abide by all the existing agreements and protocols on China-India boundary affairs and avoid any action that could escalate matters.

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