IAF selects 21 highway sections for emergency operations

New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) has selected 21 highway sections across the country for landing their aircraft in case of any operational contingency and to undertake rescue missions during natural disasters. These highway stretches have been identified after careful studies.

Some of the highways selected are in States bordering Pakistan such as Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Others fall in Assam, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

These stretches were selected by a study group of IAF officials keeping in mind the minimum operational requirements for landing and take-off in case of any emergency. Last month Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had suggested that the officials from highways and IAF should work closely to develop these stretches.

This process has started after news reports have suggested that Pakistan’s Air Force had closed some important highways for military use in Lahore and Islamabad areas after Uri attack.

Last year, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had directed the  National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to share its plans for upgrading the existing highways or while building new ones so that defence requirements could be incorporated at the design stage itself. Some of the stretches in Jaisalmer area in Rajasthan and Dwarka in Gujarat were short-listed in last year itself.

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