The US may not be willing to ‘loan out ‘ fighter squadrons to India in the event of a possible war with China, but most allies have already come forward to help India militarily to face the Ladakh stand-off.
They are delivering urgently needed weapons and ammunition for the Indian armed forces.
France has promised to deliver additional Rafale jets next month.
An in-service Israeli air defence system is expected soon, precision artillery rounds will be sent by the US, and Russia will make early deliveries of ammunition and weapons worth $1 billion.
The commitments have been made after top-level bilateral talks after a high level meeting in Delhi , where emergency financial powers were cleared to help the armed forces to prepare for a prolonged standoff in eastern Ladakh.
The first set of cutting-edge Rafale fighter jets – equipped with perhaps the world’s best long-range air-to-air missiles – is expected to reach India by July 27.
As per the initial plan, four fighters were to reach the home base at Ambala next month but sources said that France has now made a commitment to send additional Rafales in the first batch.
A total of eight aircraft are nearing certification but it is unclear how many additional fighters could be delivered early.
The planes will be flown in by Indian pilots who have been trained in France and will be fully combat ready when they arrive at Ambala.
Sources said that in support of early delivery, France has committed that it will deploy its aerial refuelers to ensure that the jets make it to India with just a single hop.
The favour by the French is no mere expression of solidarity which possibly it is.
” This is a gesture to impress the Indians , something that may help the French swing the impending 114- combat aircraft deal in their favour,” said Airpower analyst P.K Choudhury.
He told Easternlink that tge Russians have also agreed to fast -track the 12 Sukhoi-29 MIG29 deal to reinforce their old friendship with an eye of the mega 114 aircraft deal.
” The Americans want us to buy their F21 which is a marginally tweajed version of the F16 already in service of many forces for decades including Pakistan. They want to leverage their strategic relationship to sell us an old aircraft in a new casing. We should never take it,” said Choudhury.
” They are bad allies .”
Choudhury said India should choose between an advanced version of Su 57 or Rafale, and only consider the US if it offers F35 Raptors.”
Key defence supplier Israel – which showed its commitment as a reliable partner during the Kargil war too – is expected to deliver a much-needed air defence system that will be deployed along the border.
Sources said that the unnamed air defence system is likely to come from the current holdings of the Israeli defence forces and would supplement the Ladakh sector. This would be useful as the Chinese side is said to have deployed its newly acquired S-400 air defence system in the sector as well.
India’s largest defence supplier Russia has pledged urgent delivery of weapons, ammunition and missiles that India asked for during the recent visit to Moscow by defence minister Rajnath Singh.
A detailed list has been shared by India for several dozen requirements that would cost in excess of $1 billion and a commitment has been received from Russia of delivery within weeks.
Given that most land-based systems such as tanks and armoured carriers are of Russian origin, India is looking for a variety of ammunition that will be required in the event of a larger conflict.
The air force is looking for urgent supply of air-dropped bombs and missiles while the army requires anti-tank missiles and man-portable air defence systems for the border.
India’s newest strategic partner – the US – has already been helping out with vital intelligence and satellite imagery that give military planners clarity on the border situation. Sources said that the US has invited India to share a list of all requirements with a commitment to be of assistance at the earliest.
In particular, additional Excalibur artillery rounds have been ordered on an emergency basis. The precision attack rounds with a range of over 40 km are used in a variety of artillery guns in the Indian inventory, including the M 777s that are designed for mountain warfare.
These rounds are known for their accuracy and damage potential and have been tried and tested by the army.
Indications suggest India will get overwhelming diplomatic and support from major powers in the event of a war with China full credit for which should go to Foreign Minister S Jaishanker and the MEA team headed by foreign secretary Harsh Shringla.
” Rarely has India had a foreign minister who can function like a hands-on team leader,” said foreign policy analyst Baladass Ghoshal.
But his task is cut out in the region where the Chinese have made deep inroads in the smaller countries of South Asia.