New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Indo-China standoff in eastern Ladakh which continues to sustain the tensed air in the relationship between two of the world’s most populated nations has pushed the government to seek immediate supply of some crucial defence equipments of India’s fighter aircrafts, battle tanks, and submarines. 

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in his three-day visit to Russia, will be seeking the urgent supply of spares and associated equipment to India for Russian-made fighter planes, battle tanks, and submarines. The Defence Ministry will ask for the delivery of these equipment via air route instead of the sea route, given the urgency of the situation in the wake of Indo-China faceoff in the eastern Ladakh. 

“During the visit, the Defence Minister will take up the issue of urgent supply of equipment and spares needed for the Russian-origin fighter aircraft including the Su-30MKIs and Mig-29s of Indian Air Force and Mig-29K of Indian Navy, the T-90 battle tanks of the army, and the Kilo-class submarine of the Navy along with other warships,” a government source was quoted as saying by the news agency ANI.

The government source claimed that the required equipment were poised to be delivered to India via sea-route before but was stuck there for “several months” due to the COVID-19 situation. The Defence Ministry, given India’s historic ties with Russia, will seek to get it delivered by air.

Indo-China faceoff in Ladakh: Who holds the edge?

Recent studies by the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Boston and the Center for a New American Security in Washington, as reported by CNN suggest that India maintains an edge in high-altitude environments.

The Belfer study points out that India has about 270 fighter aircraft and 68 ground-attack aircraft along with a string of small air bases not very far from the Indo-China border. China, by contrast, has 157 fighters and a small fleet of ground-attack drones in the region closer to its border with India. The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) uses eight bases in the region, but most of those are civilian airfields at problematic elevations, the Belfer study suggests.

India’s Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi Su-30 jets, also hold a qualitative edge in the region, where China's fields J-10, J-11 and Su-27 fighters – of which India’s Mirage 2000 and Su-30 jets are all-weather aircraft whereas China’s only J-10 aircraft has all-weather flying abilities.

"To weather a potential People's Liberation Army (PLA) attack, India has placed greater emphasis on infrastructure hardening; base resiliency; redundant command, control, and communications systems; and improved air defence," a September 2019 report by Center for a New American Security in Washington says.

The tensions continue to remain heightened between the two nuclear-armed states after the worst clash in decades between the two armies on the evening of 15 June in Galwan valley, left 20 Indian soldiers dead and 76 injured. Whereas Chinese side also suffered at least 43 casualties, with its state media now confirming the death of Chinese commanding officer during the faceoff.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma