2nd Squadron of the C-130J Super Hercules to be housed in West Bengal

India is set to position its second squadron of special operations aircraft C-130J in Panagarh, West Bengal, to increase flying in areas close to the disputed boundary with China.

“The second squadron of C-130J would be located at Panagarh. The flying will start by March-April 2017,” Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said here on Wednesday ahead of his retirement on December 31.

The mountain strike corps being raised by the army would eventually be located at Panagarh. India currently has 13 corps – 10 defensive and 3 offensive corps – 1, 2, and 21 based in Mathura, Ambala and Bhopal. The 17 corps will be the first one to have specific capabilities to fight in the mountains.

Raha brushed aside China’s angry reaction to the successful testing of long-range nuclear-capable Agni-V missile earlier this week. “In international diplomacy, normal diplomacy or military diplomacy, these posturing and signalling will always be there. So we should just go about with our task, meet our own requirements and security challenges,” said India’s senior most military officer, who chaired the Chief of Staff committee for 29 months.

“We are building capabilities to deter because several times in the past we were drawn into conflict. We need to have capabilities to strike deep at the heart of the adversary,” said Raha. The air chief did not name any country.

When asked to comment on the missile test, a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign office said on Tuesday: “The UN Security Council has explicit regulations on whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
China always maintains that preserving the strategic balance and stability in South Asia is conducive to peace and prosperity of regional countries and beyond.”

On the dwindling fighter strength, Raha said the IAF would require 200-250 aircraft in the next 10 years. The serviceability of aircraft increased by 5-7% with the inking of many agreements on spare supply and service


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