The Indian air force (IAF) is fully prepared to counter China’s increasing military presence at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the disputed border territories, IAF Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari said on Tuesday.
The tensions between the two countries have been on the rise over the past few weeks as both accuse each other of increased military presence in eastern Ladakh.
“There is the deployment of PLA [Chinese armed forces] at the LAC. China has increased its infrastructure there. We are fully prepared. Their forward deployment might be bigger but Indian Airforce is well prepared,” Chaudhari said at a press conference.
Chaudhari further noted that the IAF has been actively modernizing its equipment and purchasing new vehicles.
“The recent deployment of Rafale, Apache aircraft has enhanced our capability. IAF’s offensive strike capability has become even more potent with the induction of modern edge weapons. With the upcoming deployment of Tejas MK 1A and S400 the IAF will become even stronger,” Chaudhari stated.
In 2015, the IAF signed a contract with the United States on the purchase of 22 Apache Guardian attack helicopters, and the first aircraft was officially handed over to the IAF in May 2019.
In 2016, India contracted 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France. The first batch of five fighter jets arrived in India last July, and the rest are expected to be delivered before the end of 2021.
Tejas MK 1A Light Combat Aircraft is produced domestically by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, and Russia’s S-400 air defense systems are expected to be shipped to India and put into service in 2021, according to Chaudhari.
The tensions in Ladakh between China and India resumed last May. Following several conflicts between both countries’ military units in the area of Pangong Lake, Beijing and New Delhi increased their military presence on the border.
The sides agreed to withdraw troops from the LAC in February, but the situation once again escalated as both countries resumed deployment of troops near the line in September. China has several times since then accused India of provocative behavior on the border, while New Delhi has rejected all such claims as groundless.