Islamabad: Pakistan's construction of an airport at Muridke, about 100 km from the line of Control (LOC) and only 120 km from Jammu are in full swing. Intelligence reports say that the construction of two runways and parallel taxiways is progressing after the ground-breaking ceremony on March 22.

Clearly, there have been no delays in construction work despite the recent floods that inundated nearly half the country and an ongoing financial crisis. The airfield is 15 km northeast of Muridke town, which is close to Lahore. Importantly, Muridke is the headquarters of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the most powerful terror group in Pakistan.

The Muridke airfield, once ready, will not only be 120 km from Jammu but about 250 km from Srinagar. It will also be close to Indian Air Force airfields in the area like Pathankot and Awantipora. Of course, what the Pakistan Air Force will eventually place there remains to be seen, but the airfield could also be involved in the defence of the LET headquarters.

When the Indian Air Force struck the Balakot terror camp on February 26, 2019, the operation began with a feint towards the Punjab province of Punjab and the PAF rushed its fighters to the area.

The construction of the airfield at break-neck speed is clearly a sign of Pakistan seeing some kind of weakness in the area and the need to have stronger air defences there. The LET continues to be the primary sources of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, the Jaishe Mohammed and the Hizbul Mujahideen being smaller and less resourceful. It is a banned outfit, internationally, and an asset of the ISI, the military intelligence wing of the Pakistan Army.