India vying for air superiority

IN one of its major defence deals in decades, India signed a formal agreement Friday with France worth $ 8.7 billion to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets. New Delhi – ranked world’s top defence importer – has signed several big-ticket deals as part of a $100bn military upgradation plan since assumption of power by Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi in 2014. Given the Indian belligerence and war mongering against Pakistan, which are not new but became even more apparent recently, when the Indian leaders as well as media both appear to be in a mad race spitting vitriol, Pakistan cannot afford to remain oblivious to the modern weaponry procurement by India. We have to look for some affordable matching technology to give a befitting response to any aggression.
In the modern warfare, the air power has assumed great significance to neutralize the capabilities of the enemy. In recent combats, we have seen the world powers doing the same and then going ahead with the ground offensive. As India is working on a plan to replace its aging fleet with the modern fourth and fifth generation fighter jets, Pakistan also requires retiring its old aircrafts and replacing them with the modern planes. As Pakistan can no longer rely on the supply of F-16s from the US following the blockage of sale deal by the Congress, Pakistan needs to quickly exploit other viable options. One such option is purchase of the mighty SU-35 for which Pakistan is already in negotiations with Russia. While French planes such as Rafale are very expensive, the Russians are not and they are equally good. Comparison between Rafale and Su-35 clearly reveals that the latter is not only cheaper but far better in manoeuvrability than the former. Pakistan should speed up the process of negotiations with Moscow in order to ensure early realization of the deal on twin engine Su-35. In addition, the large-scale defence collaboration with China has always remained a great source of strength for us. We should further enhance this collaboration and work with Chinese friends actively to turn JF-17 thunder fighter jet into a truly modern aircraft to indigenously meet defence requirements of the country.

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