NEW DELHI: Naval MiG-29K supersonic fighters and Poseidon-8I long-range patrol aircraft may primarily have a maritime role but they are also being used over land amid the ongoing military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh.
Sources said the US-origin
aircraft, which are packed with radars and electro-optic sensors to hunt enemy warships and submarines, are being regularly deployed to keep track of movements and build-ups of the People’s Liberation Army along the Line of Actual Control. “Satellites and drones, of course, are also being used for surveillance,” said a source.
The Russian-origin MiG-29Ks, in turn, have replaced IAF fighters at an airbase in north-western India. IAF has forward deployed a lot of its fighters like Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s and MiG-29s as well as Apache attack and Chinook heavy-lift helicopters along the LAC, especially in eastern Ladakh.
IAF has also positioned around 10 Jaguar maritime strike fighters, armed with anti-ship Harpoon missiles, at the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, which dominates China’s critical sea trade lanes passing through the Malacca Strait, as was first reported by TOI on Tuesday.
Incidentally, India had deployed the P-8I aircraft, which are also armed with missiles and other weapons, to keep tabs on Chinese troops even during the 73-day troop face-off atDoklamnear the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in 2017.
Chief of de