The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) closely monitored different aspects of the Indian Air Force’s Gaganshakti-2018 exercise that concluded in the eastern sector on Sunday, said people involved in the drills.
The IAF clocked more 11,000 sorties during the two-phase air manoeuvres that saw the concentration of the air force’s deployed assets move from the western sector to the eastern front in less than 48 hours, an official said.
“Gaganshakti-2018 was the biggest IAF exercise ever and the PLAAF kept an eye on it. It’s not unusual as we also do the same when our neighbours carry out military drills,” the official said on Tuesday.
Quoting IAF chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, Hindustan Times reported on April 17 that the Pakistan Air Force was monitoring the exercise through its airborne warning and control systems during its first phase in the western sector.
Another official said 300 expert teams were analysing different aspects of the exercise and a report on lessons learnt would be out in a week. The IAF took nine months to prepare for GaganShakti-2018, he added.
Dhanoa had earlier said the IAF was “shaking the heavens and splitting the Earth” with its extremely rapid operational tempo during the exercise held between April 8 and 22.
The Gaganshakti-2018 exercise sought to test the IAF’s readiness and stamina for a two-front war with China and Pakistan. From deep strikes to air dominance and maritime operations to air defence, the IAF practiced every manoeuvre in the book in its preparation for a short and intense war.
The officials said a few of the eight Tejas light combat aircraft also took part in the exercise.
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