India has approved the purchase of 33 Russian fighter jets and the upgrade of 59 aircraft.
It should be noted that the approval was given at a time when China and India are facing each other in the disputed border region of Ladakh in the western Himalayas.
According to reports, the Indian Ministry of Defense said it had approved 21 MiG-29s and a dozen Su-30 jets at a total cost of $2.43 billion.
The reports added that the purchase, along with the upgrade of 59 other MiG-29s, was aimed at eliminating the “long-term need of the Air Force to enhance the capabilities of its fighter squadrons”.
During a visit to Moscow last month, Indian defence Minister Rajnath Singh called for the immediate delivery of Russian warplanes, officials said.
India has more than half of its Russian-made military equipment, while New Delhi has turned to the United States and Israel for high-tech weapons over the past several decades.
The Indian Defense Ministry has also approved the purchase of Russian-made air-to-air missiles.
In this regard, he said that it will increase the combat capability of the Air Force.
Defence analyst Rahul Bedi said the acquisition of Russian aircraft would increase the number of combat squadrons in the Indian Air Force.
A squadron relies on 18 aircraft, he said.
He said 21 MiG-29s would be used, which would be upgraded in Russia.
Rahul Bedi said that 12 SU-30MKIs would be manufactured under the license of Bharti Aeronautics Limited.
It may be recalled that India has also increased the number of its troops in response to China’s increase in military installations on the disputed Himalayan border.
Earlier, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash between Indian and Chinese troops on June 15.
This is the bloodiest clash between the two countries’ forces in 45 years.
According to experts, the chances of a direct war between the two countries are very low, but it may take some time for tensions to subside.
China claims that its 90,000 square kilometres area is located in India, in response to which India claims that its 38,000 square kilometres area is located in the mountainous region of Aksai Chin within China’s borders.