China Boosting Air Power In Tibet Bordering India, Says Air Force Chief

The comments came on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for the central Chinese city of Wuhan for a two-day-long informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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China Boosting Air Power In Tibet Bordering India, Says Air Force Chief

Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa said that he thinks India and China should meet more often to avoid conflict.


New Delhi:  Indian Air Force Chief B S Dhanoa today said China has been ramping up its aerial prowess in the Tibetan Autonomous Region bordering India. Conceding that China has a "credible mix" of multi-role fighter and strike aircraft, the Air Chief Marshal said his force needs 42 squadrons of fighter jets to carry out "full spectrum of operations in all contingencies". At present, the IAF has only 31 squadrons of fighters.

At the same time, he, however, said the IAF has the ability to fight a "short" and "swift" war whenever required.

"Over the past few years, we have seen a significant increase in deployment of Chinese aircraft and aircrew in Tibetan Autonomous Region from other military regions," he said in an address at a think-tank in New Delhi.
 
j 11 aircraft china

A J-11 fighter jet deploys a drogue parachute after landing during an combat training exercise in China.

The comments came on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for the central Chinese city of Wuhan for a two-day-long informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"The deployment of Sukhoi 27 and J-10 fleets for the continuous operations during the winter months affords them a credible all round capability. Many years back they used to only occupy the air field in summers," he said in an address to a select gathering at the Vivekananda Foundation.

The geography of Tibet, however, works against the Chinese Air Force there, adding it has an "inherent operational disadvantage" due to high altitude and very cold temperatures.

The Air Chief Marshal said he recently told a Chinese Air Force official that the two sides should meet more frequently to avoid conflict.

But despite the often strained ties between the two countries, Air Chief Marhsal Dhanoa said, there was not a single airspace violation from both sides and the two air forces share a healthy relationship.

He said there is a misconception that the Air Force does not need 42 squadrons.

"We have government sanction of 42 squadrons. When they (adversaries) go to fourth generation aircraft, we need a fourth generation aircraft to counter them. You are not fighting against vacuum," he said.


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