In a major move to boost infrastructure along the India-Pakistan border, New Delhi has cleared construction of a new frontline airbase at Deesa in Banaskantha district of Gujarat for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The construction of the airbase is expected to cost the Indian exchequer over Rs 1000 crore.
The decision to construct the airbase was taken recently at a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security - the highest decision-making body on security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A top source told India Today, the Deasa Airbase will complement Bhuj and Nalia Airbase in Gujrat and the Bikaneer Airbase in Rajasthan.
The Deesa Airbase will play a critical role for the South Western Air Command (SWAC) against Pakistan. Deesa is near the border and will to bridge the aerial gaps in Indian Air Defence along the western border. The SWAC is tasked to protect the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Although in the plans for decades, construction of the airbase was not seen as a "priority" earlier, top government sources told India Today on conditions of anonymity.
Deesa has an airstrip and is used by civilian and charter flights. Apart from upgrading the airstrip, the IAF will be building blast-proof pens to keep fighters.
The airbase that will be the base of top line fighters will be spread over 4000 acres.
"Land had been acquired earlier, but previous governments had not moved on the proposal to build the airbase," sources said.
With India-Pakistan on slide and borders unusually active with repeated ceasefire violations and infiltration bids by Pakistan-based terrorist the "IAF had moved a fresh proposal to build a new airbase a few months ago," sources said.
Apart from plugging the existing aerial gaps in India's air defence, the airbase will protect vital industrial installations in Gujarat, top sources.