India may deploy the recently bought Rafale fighter aircraft capable of carrying tactical nuclear warheads near disputed regions with Pakistan and China, the chinese media said.
India may deploy the recently bought Rafale fighter aircraft capable of carrying tactical nuclear warheads near disputed regions with Pakistan and China, the chinese media said in a report on Friday. The jets can carry tactical nuclear warheads, and this means India’s nuclear deterrence capability will be greatly improved, the report said. India, last week, signed a 7.87-billion-euro (Rs 59,000 crore) deal with France for direct acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft, equipped with the latest missiles and weapon systems. Of the 36 aircraft, 28 will be single-seat and eight twin-seat and will have India-specific modifications. The deal is crucial for the Indian Air Force that is grappling with a drawdown of its fighter fleet.The IAF has 33 fighter squadrons, each consisting of 18 fighter planes. It requires 45 combat units to counter a combined threat from China and Pakistan.
Published in Global Times, the report comes a day after India conducted surgical strikes on terror launchpads across Line of Control (LoC). India said the inflicted “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to launch attacks in India. However, Pakistan denied that Indian troops carried out “surgical strikes” across the Line of Control, saying it had responded to “cross-border fire” from the Indian side that killed two soldiers and injured nine more.
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The Global Times article, titled “Asia arms imports on the rise as India buys new jets”, is an indication that both the government and strategic circles in China are keeping a close watch on developments in the region, especially the escalating tension between India and Pakistan. “According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India is the largest arms importer in the world. India is rapidly expanding its military capabilities, spending an estimated $100 billion on new defense systems since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014,” the article said.
Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the newspaper: “India also wants to purchase the Rafale technology from Dassault but France refused, meaning France has no intention to help India promote its military industrial system.” Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times, “the majority of Asian states don’t have a comprehensive and developed military industry, but they have good economic bases, so they are willing to purchase ‘security’ from the West rather than spending more time and money to develop their own systems.” “Due to the South China Sea dispute and the increasing power of the Chinese navy, countries like Vietnam and the Philippines are very concerned, but the US is not helping China solve the problem peacefully,” Song said.
Many of China’s neighbours are also on the list of top 10 importers, such as Vietnam, South Korea and India.