'Ceasefire, CBMs may lead to Siachin solution'
Somewhere in the Northern Sector, May 11: Ceasefire in the Siachin glacier and the ongoing Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan may lead to a solution to the conflict, according to Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of Western Air Command (WAC) Air Marshal A K Singh.
''The two-and-a-half-year ceasefire is a major respite. This, coupled with other CBMs, is leading us towards a solution to the issue,'' Air Marshal Singh said while responding to reporters' queries here.
However, on the feasibility of a sector-wise/sub-sector-wise de-escalation in the area, he said any such step could be considered only if there was a broadbased agreement between the two sides that they would stick to the the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).
''This can be considered only if the both sides are willing to stay put wherever they are at present,'' he said.
Even if the de-escalation took place, some of the posts in area and the vigil in others would have to be maintained, the Air Marshal said while talking about the ongoing talk about the de-escalation and withdrawal of troops from the highest battleground in the world.
Besides, Air Marshal A K Singh, said the THOISE airfield of the Indian Air Force would not be shut down in case of de-escalation. THOISE (Transit Halt of Indian Soldiers Enroute), the northernmost airfield of the Air Force, is known as the 'Gateway to the Siachin Glacier .
Regarding high-tech surveillance in the region, he said any technology was as good as the persons operating it.
To a question, he said, the Western Air Command had at present no plans to purchase any Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
He said in the harsh weather conditions and the tough terrain of the Siachin Glacier, the UAVs would not be able to operate effectively. The temperature in the area varies from minus 30 degrees to 30 degrees and winds flew up to 120 km per hour, he said.
Besides, there were ''bottomless'' pits in the glacier which were said to be 7,000 to 8000 ft deep. ''They are like wells in the mountains,'' he added.
Asked if the proposed Aerospace Command would be commanded by the Indian Air Force or WAC, he said the Aerospace Command was the requirement of the nation. ''IAF will be part of it. It will be launched in cooordination with ISRO, Army and Navy.'' To a question, he said there would be no weaponisation of the space, with the establishment the Aerospace Command.