In a bid to counter future war threats from China and Pakistan, the Indian Air Force would deploy Rafale combat aircrafts at Ambala in Haryana and Hashimara in West Bengal, according to a Mail Today report.
India had signed a 7.878 billion Euros deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets from From France in September last year. Rafale fighter jets will come equipped with state-of-the-art missiles such as the Meteor and Scalp. The Meteor is a BVR air-to-air missile, with a range in excess of 150 km.
The Mail Today report quoted a government official as saying that an IAF squadron comprising of 18 Rafale aircrafts would be deployed at Ambala and the other at Hashimara.
In the wake of aggressive patrolling by Chinese forces on the eastern and northern borders and deepening defence ties between Pakistan and China, Indian military aims to be prepared for a two-front war with the two countries.
The report says that earlier the Rafale jets were planned to be deployed at Sarsawa air station in Uttar Pradesh, but it couldn’t be finalised because of land acquisition issues.
The twin threats from China and Pakistan is more telling these days as China takes forward the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which is a part of China’s One belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative and covers Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, an Indian territory. China has so far not shown much willingness towards addressing Indian questions over its involvement in the PoK. Instead, Beijing has challenged India to clarify its concerns.
On Tuesday, while reacting to India’s External Affairs spokesman Gopal Bagley’s remarks that China should hold a meaningful dialogue on the concerns over the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying 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 (for the project).”
“I do not know what the spokesperson (of MEA was) trying to say. What kind of dialogue is a meaningful dialogue? What kind of a positive attitude the spokesman wants China to have?” Hua said.
India boycotted the two-day OBOR, or Belt and Road Initiative Summit, which concluded in Beijing on Monday, due to sovereignty concerns.
On Saturday last, Baglay had said, “Guided by our principled position in the matter, we have been urging China to engage in a meaningful dialogue on its connectivity initiative, ‘One Belt, One Road’, which was later renamed as ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. We are awaiting a positive response from the Chinese side.”
(With inputs from PTI)