Even as Pakistan is flexing its muscles along the Indian border near Punjab, the Indian Air Force is maintaining “high operational tempo” by packing the western front with its lethal combat aircraft.
IAF MOVING ASSETS TO BORDER AREAS
Several units of the Su-30MKI, Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft and other front-line planes have been moved to forward areas in Punjab and Rajasthan and have been retained there, a senior IAF source told Mail Today . “Though the situation has improved from what it was post the Uri attack in September, we are still keeping ourselves ready for meeting any situation,” the officer said. Mail Today is withholding the exact locations of deployment of these aircraft squadrons and their home bases for security reasons.
After India carried out surgical strikes on terror launchpads in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir on September 28, retaliatory action by Pakistan was anticipated. All the three services were maintaining high operational readiness. Pakistan has also started a major military drill along the Indian border – Exercise Raad ul Barq (Strike of Thunder) – through which it wants to warn India against any ambitious and reckless move, Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif has said.
“These exercises reflect the preparedness of our armed forces to respond to any threat to national security,” he had said. Frontline Pakistani aircraft, including its latest chinese import JF-17 Thunder fighter jets and helicopter gunships along with Al-Khalid tanks took part in the military drill. IAF sources felt that such forward deployments were required as Pakistan army has kept the situation hot and alive by frequently violating the ceasefire on the Line of Control and the international border. It has also been making false claims about killing Indian troops which has been vehemently denied by the Indian Army.
India has close to 250 Su-30MKI squadrons that have been deployed across the country from Tezpur in Northeast to Jodhpur in the West. The heavy air superiority aircraft is the biggest stay of the air force and is considered far superior than the inventory of F-16 and Chinese JF-17 in the rival air force. Just before the tensions broke out on the border, the Air Force was busy in drills code-named Exercise TALON. The drill was called off after a minor mishap but after the attack on Uri, they were restarted with IAF deploying all its major assets in it. The IAF also focused on improving perimeter security of its bases as part of lessons learnt during the Pathankot air base attack by deploying UAVs in the drill.