India is reportedly seeking to beef up military purchases from Russia following last week’s major border incident with China that resulted in 20 Indian Army troops killed, and an undisclosed number of Chinese PLA casualties in the disputed Galwan Valley area of East Ladakh.
Indian government sources were cited in New Delhi-based ANI News Agency as saying “the Indian Air Force (IAF) has pushed a proposal to the government for acquiring 33 new fighter aircraft, including 21 MiG-29s and 12 Su-30MKIs from Russia.”
“The Air Force has been working on this plan for a while, but the process took a faster curve, and a 600-crore (about 787.4 million dollars) offer will be submitted to the Ministry of Defense for final approval this week,” the report continued.
Indian has long conducted major weapons systems purchases from Russia, including recently acquiring a fleet of Su-30 fighter jets.
New Delhi now wants to speed up such acquirement as both sides reportedly build up their forces along the border.
Forbes also pointed out that the new aircraft order from Russia is in direct response to the deadly Galwan Valley border incident with China:
So it should come as no surprise that India this week reportedly placed a $780 million order with Russia for 33 fighters, enough to equip or reequip two squadrons. What’s weird is which fighter types New Delhi reportedly is buying.
The Indian order includes 21 MiG-29s and 12 Su-30s, according to press reports. But one aviation expert believes the Sukhois in particular are a poor fit for mountain patrols.
China meanwhile, has reportedly been pursuing expansion and modernizing of its high-altitude airbase at the dual use civilian/military Ngari Gunsa airport in Tibet.
Advanced PLA J-11 and J-16 fighters have recently been spotted at the base near Ladakh via satellite images.