India Deploys Rafale Combat Planes as Twin Threats From China, Pakistan Loom
India will deploy its Rafale combat aircraft to Ambala in Haryana and Hashimara in West Bengal in a bid to counter future war threats from China and Pakistan.
A government official was quoted saying that an IAF squadron composed of 18 Rafale planes will be deployed to the two regions, India Today reported. The jets were supposed to be sent to Sarsawa air station in Uttar Pradesh, but this could not reportedly be finalized because of issues related to land acquisitions.
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After China aggressively patrolled the eastern and northern borders and its increased defense ties with Pakistan, India is preparing itself for a two-front ware and developing infrastructure on both sides. On the eastern front, the Hasimara air base, which is near China's border, would see Rafale planes replacing the existing MiG 27 squadrons.
Last September, India signed an $8.78 billion contract for 36 Rafale planes from France. Rafale jets feature cutting-edge missiles including the Scalp and Meteor, which is a BVR air-to-air missile with a range more than 150 kilometers. The Indian Air Force has rated Rafale planes higher than Su-30 MKIs.
Meanwhile, India did not attend the two-day One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative summit, which concluded on Monday in Beijing, because of sovereignty concerns.
On Tuesday, reacting to India's spokesperson for External Affairs Gopal Bagley's remarks that China should hold a dialogue on the concerns of the OBOR project, Hua Chunying, spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, said, "Over the past four years since the project was initiated we have been holding the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits."