India shelves proposal to set up airbase in Mongolia?

ironman

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September 18th, 2009 - 5:57 pm ICT by IANS

By Ritu Sharma
New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) An Indian proposal to have an airbase in Mongolia to increase its strategic outreach in the Central Asian region appears to have been shelved, an official said, amid concerns that it could exacerbate tensions with China.

Mooted in 2004 during the visit of then Mongolian prime minister N. Enkhbayar in January 2004, the idea elicited a positive response in Mongolia, a country with which India has been rapidly developing ties in the space and defence fields.

“We wanted to have a base in Mongolia but it has not fructified. Currently, we have a base in Tajikistan, and that’s it,” a senior Indian Air Force (IAF) official told IANS requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Although India used the Tajikistan airbase at the turn of the century, it is really not operational in the military sense and there are no Indian aircraft stationed there, knowledgeable sources say.

Besides providing enhanced reach to the IAF, the Mongolian base was seen as giving India strategic leverage vis-a-vis China. Resource-rich Central Asia is also important for India to secure its energy supplies.

But the proposed airbase did not figure during the recently concluded four-day visit of Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj to India. Elbegdorj signed a civil nuclear pact with India. Four other pacts were inked, including one to enhance defence cooperation.

These ties have steadily proliferated since the late 1990s as part of New Delhi’s ‘Look East’ policy and strategy to build strategic ties with China’s neighbours. And with China-Mongolian relations de-emphasising Mongolian nationalism and focusing more on regional security cooperation, the Central Asian country is keen to strengthen its ties with other countries as well.

In 2001, India and Mongolia signed an agreement on Defence Cooperation, which included joint exercises and reciprocal visits by military officers, followed by the constitution of Joint Defence Working Group.

In January 2004, a cooperation protocol was signed between its Department of Space and the Mongolian Ministry of Infrastructure. It also covers studies related to satellite communication, satellite-related remote sensing and satellite meteorology. Also included in the protocol are satellite ground stations and satellite mission management, training facilities and exchange of scientists.

A defence ministry official said the idea of the base emerged from long-term “strategic thinking” and a proposal did reach the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

“We wanted a base in Mongolia to give us greater reach in the region. But with an air-to-air refueller and better aircraft (with us), the need is not imminent,” said the official on condition of anonymity.

Defence experts agree that the airbase would have given India a bigger strategic footprint.

“Having a military presence in the region will give India a much greater strategic profile. However, it (the plan for a base in Mongolia) seems to have been shelved as the move may be seen as provocative by China,” National Maritime Foundation director Commodore Uday C. Bhaskar, a well known strategic analyst, told IANS.

India and Mongolia share good relations, which have been deepened by the Buddhist link. India was the first non-Communist country to recognise Mongolia, which opened its embassy here in 1956. India’s diplomatic mission there opened 15 years later in 1971.

While New Delhi has reportedly dropped plans to have an airbase in Mongolia, experts say that China continues with its strategy to encircle New Delhi with a series of ports in countries neighbouring India.

The Gwadar port developed in Pakistan with China’s help has neared completion. Opening at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, it has provided China a strategic foothold in Asia and a crucial gateway to trade. The deep-water harbour in Gwadar could be used by China’s expanding fleet of nuclear submarines.

China is also engaged in developing ports and building infrastructure in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Said Bhaskar: “The Indian government is not clear how to deal with China. India should think of investing in a civil air base in Mongolia. It will be akin to the commercial port in Sri Lanka that China is investing in.”

(Ritu Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])
 

arya

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hi
still repeating the mistake

are they still sleeping GOI should understand one thing the war must be take place india and china and no one can stop that its up2 our govt how they want to prepare them self if you see we are going in same postion as usa and rusiia was before clod war

guys we have to make our self more storng in every field and this step is just showing we are missing the time

its a big mistake by our GOVT its not about a airbase its about the preesure point on china

jai hind
 

natarajan

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when chinese using string of pearls and lots of incursion why should we bother about them as though they are mute and our netas are 100% iso certified selfish who want to see their future generation in power safely with or without ap and kashmir:wink:
 

tarunraju

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An airbase in Mongolia was always going to be impractical. There's no direct route to Mongolia except over China. On the other hand, Chinese off-shore bases are situated where they needn't fly over Indian airspace. The smarter thing to do here would be bargaining with ROC and South Korea for the same. At least it sounds like worth the try.
 

indian_blues

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When we can't even make tajik airbase operational having one at Mongolia is a distant dream, probably we should pursue in Gulf countries.
 

ppgj

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An airbase in Mongolia was always going to be impractical. There's no direct route to Mongolia except over China. On the other hand, Chinese off-shore bases are situated where they needn't fly over Indian airspace. The smarter thing to do here would be bargaining with ROC and South Korea for the same. At least it sounds like worth the try.
and vietnam.
 
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When we can't even make tajik airbase operational having one at Mongolia is a distant dream, probably we should pursue in Gulf countries.
the gulf countries offer no strategic advantage against China, we have defense pacts with a few Gulf countries.
 

bhramos

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If we need a base in Mongolia, we need to have technical support from Russia, unless then we cant operate, as this is also going in Tajik air base, exactly cant say there have been rumours that IAF deployed 2-Mig-29s & some Mi-8 helicopters Tajik air base,these r being maintianed with the help Russia, as RuAF also deployed a Sq of Mig-29's & Su-25 & some heli's too.
 

Dark Sorrow

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I think it would be a silent deal. GOI doesn't want to make hush about it with the recent bilaterial talks with china. GOI always want to remain clean.
 

Yusuf

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Opening base us easier than maintaining it. India has no direct supply line to Mongolia. Stationing about a dozen MiGs there would be of no consequence vis a vis China. The Tajik base with a dozen MiGs may be good ffrom the Pakistani angle but same cannot be said from the chinese angle. What America operates all over is called base. Thousands of personnel and hundreds of war machines that can undertake first strike let alone retaliatory.

Those who think too much about the strings of pearls, well it's not military base yet but a strategy to bypass any Indian choking of the mallaccas. India can block Chinese ships but it cannot ships from other countries. So china will use these ports to maintain supplies by proxy.
 

natarajan

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so you dont want base there?
i dont think china will attack our base in mongolia which is another country as india is never going to attack first and chinese wont start attacking from mongolia base so in case if they attack us here then we can use it as launch pad to attack chines:2guns:
 

bhramos

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we need a base their but, India or IAF alone cant maintain it with no direct supply chain,
we need some one like Russia who could help us,
 

Sabir

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Having a military air base in Mongolia may not serve any purpose. Mongolia , I dont think will get involved in any conflict with their mighty neighbour by allowing india to use the base in case of any war. Same thing is true for most of the Chinese bases in Indian Ocean. If GOI is interested to build uo some infrastructures to monitor Chinese activities , its better not to make much fuss about it in public.
 

proud_hindustani

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An airbase in Mongolia was always going to be impractical. There's no direct route to Mongolia except over China. On the other hand, Chinese off-shore bases are situated where they needn't fly over Indian airspace. The smarter thing to do here would be bargaining with ROC and South Korea for the same. At least it sounds like worth the try.
yeah,,south korean, viethnam and Japan.
 

ddg1000

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yeah,,south korean, viethnam and Japan.
u want to set up a base in jp?:india:

how do u think of the japanese's attitude towards indians? they always look down upon any other asian countries.never to say that india's per GDP is less than 1/30 of jp :india:

only US has the ability to set up bases in jp, guys, i do not believe ur country is so powerful
 

sandeepdg

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When we can't even make tajik airbase operational having one at Mongolia is a distant dream, probably we should pursue in Gulf countries.
I totally agree with you. When we can't even have a fully operational base in Tajikistan, then how are we going to do that in Mongolia ?? As pointed out by other members, there's no direct route to Mongolia, other than using Chines airspace. Furthermore, we hardly have sufficient air assets for our homeland defense. A foreign base can be maintained only when you have air assets to spare. Also, Mongolia will never allow its soil for any offensive operations against China, as they are more dependent on them than us.If we are really serious, we should firstly operationalise the Tajik airbase completely. And also, just having an airbase with a handful of aircrafts is going to do no good, we need a full fledged combined army/airforce base with ground troops, armour, a good intel setup and an efficient logistics network, like the way US operates its bases.
 

sandeepdg

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u want to set up a base in jp?:india:

how do u think of the japanese's attitude towards indians? they always look down upon any other asian countries.never to say that india's per GDP is less than 1/30 of jp :india:

only US has the ability to set up bases in jp, guys, i do not believe ur country is so powerful
A base in Japan is not worth much for India and neither will the Japanese allow it. Anyway, we are only speculating about the future here. Vietnam is a more favorable option for the Indians.
 
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with the acquisition of planes like C-17 and PAKFA ,Sukhois, mid air refuellers, airhant with SLBM AGNI and AGNI 5 MIRV,shauriya and longer range missiles we really don't need the expense of maintaing bases we can achieve the same results .
 

badguy2000

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anyhow, a IAF base in Mongolia is meaningless to improve the position of INdia,

its ust makes the Indian solders in mongolia the hostages in fact. if China wanted, PLA could destroy them or capture them anytime.
 

icecoolben

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ground based radar stations to monitor plaf fighter, bomber assets activity in the region jointly manned by army and air-force with RAW coordinating would be more practical, before setting up air bases in the region.
But if china proposes to claim mongolia, a russian-indian-american base with ground and air assets should be inevitable and need to be pursued at any cost.

For the time being lets set up heli-pads to monitor indian investment in mongolian mines that produce uranium and in the future it has the capacity to expand so much more. Given mongolian mineral strength and lack of capability to mine them due to its land locked status.
http://countrystudies.us/mongolia/52.html

our investment in mongolia have just started to flow and are poised to take a huge leap.
India, Mongolia Sign for “Peaceful use of Radioactive Minerals & Nuclear Energy”
Minerals and Metals: India's JSPL In Race For Mongolian Coal Project

when large indian investments crop up in the country's mining and allied sectors, hopefully with government of india wooing them with tax sops and diplomatically supporting their presence; disaster relief, quick evacuation and medical treatment infrastructure would need to be set up. Given mongolia's rugged terrain air mobility would be important, so the iaf could be charged and funded with this responsibily of maintaining light utility helicopters in the region for airlift and support. A runway that can handle medium class carriers like an-32 should be built to handle mine collapses that take a terrible toll on lives. An indian private hospital could be set up in the region under army supervision , since mining is a hazardous operation and given the threat of radiation faced by uranium miners, army people would definitely be needed to coordinate any operations. If natural disasters take place in that friendly country india would be able to provide relief first hand than any other, this would enhance our soft power immensely.

This is how strategic presence should be maintained in the region. If india and china continue to grow hostile more and more, we should think of deploying fixed wing gun-ships in the region, and that phase would be relatively quick and easy.
 

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