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Saturday, June 23, 2012

IAF Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters at Tezpur Air Force base in Assam [North-East India]

Indian Armed Forces build-up of military disincentive in the North-East of India against possible Chinese bellicosity.

China's defence modernisation programme, in general, & military build-up over the Tibetan plateau, in particular, has evoked sufficient concerns amongst the Indian leadership; enough for it to necessitate undertaking some actions of its own, to address this threat. With an aim of building up its own capability to put in place a credible deterrent posture against any unfortunate, attempted misadventures, the focus of attention of the country's military planners seems, now, to be shifting to the areas bordering China, from a primarily Pakistan border-centric order of things.

Thus, in the recent past, decisions were taken to raise 2 new mountain divisions, followed by one to raise a dedicated mountain Strike Corps, building up capability to move the theatre of operation to across the border, if the situation so demands,

"The new mountain strike corps will control two divisions, trained and equipped for an attack into Tibet. If China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) captures any Indian territory, by quickly concentrating an attacking force over Tibet’s impressive road network....

....the new strike corps would launch its own riposte, advancing into Tibet and capturing a vulnerable chunk of Chinese territory, e.g. the Chumbi Valley that projects into Sikkim and Bhutan."

- source

The recent announcement of the acquisition of 145 ultra-light howitzers from the U.S for a new artillery brigade, capable of easy transportation, via air-lift, if needed, over the rough, hilly terrain, would provide the troops with the much needed supporting firepower. The scale of this induction, however, remains far from adequate - comparable indigenous/license-manufactured systems being being churned out in large numbers within the country itself is the need of the hour. Supersonic BrahMos Land Attack Cruise Missiles [LACM], too, are to be moved into the North-East. Reports quoting unnamed sources also suggest [planned] deployment of nuclear-capable Agni & Prithvi series of Ballistic Missiles for strategic deterrence. Air Defence cover is to be improved by stationing up to 6 squadrons of the indigenously developed Akash Surface to Air Missile [SAM] over there.

Indian Air Force [IAF] Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters at Tezpur, Assam [North-East]

As a first step towards implementing its plans of putting in place credible air power in the region for tackling any unpleasant situation that may evolve there, a detachment of Sukhoi Su-30 MKI 'air dominance' fighter aircrafts from an Indian Air Force's Number 2 squadron had been moved to take up residence at the Tezpur Air Force base in the state of Assam. Some significant future plans for the Air Force include basing more aircraft & helicopter squadrons  in the region, upgrading capabilities of existing air bases & improving radar & air defence coverage over the territory. The base earlier long served as the location for the MiG Operational Flying Training Unit [MOFTU], where IAF pilots first learnt how to fly the MiG-21 fighters. In addition to manned aircrafts, the IAF's Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAV] acquired from Israel, too have been based at Tezpur for aerial surveillance requirements of North-East of India.

The induction of the first batch of Sukhoi fighters took place on June 15 2009. These are some photographs from the induction day.

Indian Air Force [IAF] Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters at Tezpur, Assam [North-East]

Indian Air Force [IAF] Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters at Tezpur, Assam [North-East]

Indian Air Force [IAF] Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters at Tezpur, Assam [North-East]

Indian Air Force [IAF] Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters at Tezpur, Assam [North-East]

Indian Air Force [IAF] Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters at Tezpur, Assam [North-East]

Presently, two squadron strength of the Indian Air Force's Su-30MKI are said to be stationed, both at airbases in the state of Assam - Tezpur [Number 2 Squadron] & Chabua [Number 102 squadron].


Related: Ukrainian hardware on India's Sukhoi Su-30 MKI aircrafts