Observing an increase in the Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region, the Indian Air Force is enhancing its strength there by inducting Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets armed with lethal Brahmos missile at its new squadron based in Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur. The induction will take place on 20 January.
Senior Ministry of Defence officials said that the presence of Su-30s in south India will augment the Indian Navy's strength and air strike capabilities of the Indian armed forces as a whole, as the Brahmos have been tried and successfully tested for anti-ship operations.
The Su-30 has a range of 1,200 km and with addition of 300 km range of the Brahmos, India can strike at locations deep inside the region.
The new squadron will initially have around five to six fighter jets but gradually it will operate with full strength of 18 aircraft. This will be the first fighter squadron to be set up by the Indian Air Force in its Southern Command.
The integration of Brahmos with Su-30 was fast tracked after the Balakot air strikes in 2019.
Further strengthening of the armed forces' firepower in the southern region will act as a move towards tri-service synergy.
Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat's mandate is to set up theatre commands comprising components from Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. This will help make a ground for General Rawat to re-strategise the theatre command in the southern sector.
Indian Navy chief, Admiral Karambir Singh on Wednesday (15 January) had said that the Chinese Navy's presence is rapidly increasing in the Indian Ocean region and the Indian Navy is keeping a watch on the developments through "mission-based" deployments.
At a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue here, he had that there have been instances when People's Liberation Army (PLA) ships have entered India's exclusive economic zones and the Navy has told them that this impinges on Indian interests.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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