Indian Navy's Mig-29K Fighters To Be Deployed At Northern Bases Of Air Force Amid LAC Tensions With China
In a major development, the Indian Navy is set to deploy its Mig-29K fighter jets at Indian Air Force (IAF)'s key bases in the northern parts of the nation as tensions continue between the armed forces of India and China over the latter's belligerent misadventures along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), reports Hindustan Times.
The Indian Navy has a total of 40 Mig-29K fighter jets under its command, of which 18 are deployed by it on the nation's only active aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. The rest of the jets are stationed at Navy's base in Goa called INS Hansa.
It should be noted that the Indian Navy's P-8I maritime patrolling and surveillance aircraft are already playing a role in the tri-service efforts to keep vigil against Chinese military aggressiveness in Ladakh sector. The United States (US)-imported top-notch P-8I aircraft are playing a major role in bolstering the military posturing across the region.
The development of deploying MiG-29K also comes as a major sign of jointness and cooperation between the tri-services which was the primary goal stressed upon when the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was instituted in December last year, with former Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Bipin Rawat taking up the charge as the nation's first CDS.
The CDS had earlier hinted at the possibility that maritime combat aircraft could be deployed along the northern or western borders to assist the Air Force.
"It is being planned to deploy the MiG-29K fighter aircraft at an Indian Air Force base in the northern sector. They might be used for carrying out operational flying in the Eastern Ladakh sector along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)," government sources were quoted as saying by ANI in this report.
Indian Navy had procured these Russian-made MiG-29K fighters along with the aircraft carrier more than a decade ago.
The Indian Navy, which also provided surveillance assistance during the Doklam stand-off in 2017, is currently playing a crucial role at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh sector. Several of its planes have been deployed to patrol and provide surveillance of Chinese activities and their positions there.
Apart from being active close to the LAC, the Navy has also been conducting regular exercise near the Malacca Straits, the point where the Chinese Navy enters the Indian Ocean Region from.
"The warships and submarines of the Western Fleet are carrying out war-games near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territories as part of their deployment," government sources quoted by ANI said, while adding that India's nuclear submarines such as INS Chakra and INS Arihant are also venturing out into the sea.
Amid the ongoing tensions with the Chinese at various points of the LAC, it has become crucial for the Navy to up its vigil in the waters as well. The Chinese aggression has been visible in the sea as well.
The Chinese have a habit of regularly coming into the Indian Ocean Region with their warships including Landing Platform Docks and long-range frigates and destroyers and the Indian Navy has been closely observing their activities.
INS Vikramaditya has also been on the job with its carrier battle group, whereas India, sending a strong message in the sea, also carried out a passage exercise with the American aircraft carrier USS Nimitz a few days ago.
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