Amid the border row with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Indian Navy is set to station MiG-29K fighter jets in the major Indian Air Force (IAF) bases in the northern part of the country as part of efforts to bring tri-services synergy in dealing with national security challenges, sources privy to the information told Hindustan Times.
Currently, the Navy has a fleet of around 40 MiG-29K jets and at least 18 of them are deployed on board the country’s aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. The IAF has already positioned almost all its frontline fighter jets like Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 aircraft in the key frontier air bases in eastern Ladakh and elsewhere along the LAC.
Diplomatic and military talks between China and India are continuing for complete disengagement of troops from a number of friction points in eastern Ladakh. The IAF has been carrying out night time combat air patrols over the region in the last few weeks as part of its preparedness to deal with any eventualities there.
By the second half of August, the IAF is planning to deploy five Rafale fighter jets in the Ladakh sector which are expected to significantly enhance its combat capabilities. India is scheduled to receive the first batch of five Rafale jets on July 27.
As part of its high-level of alertness, the IAF has also deployed Apache attack choppers as well as Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to transport troops to various forward locations in eastern Ladakh. The sources said Poseidon 8I aircraft of the Navy has been deployed for monitoring the movement of Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh.
The long-range anti-submarine and reconnaissance aircraft was deployed in Doklam along the Sikkim border too during the 73-day standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in 2017. The P-8Is were also deployed to keep an eye on the movement of Pakistani troops after the Pulwama terror attack last year.
(With inputs from agencies)