Wednesday, September 17, 2008

India deploys jets in troubled Kashmir

Wed, 17 Sep 2008

India has deployed fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear warheads in the volatile region of Kashmir as a warning to Pakistan.
The jets were deployed at an airbase in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir. At least six Russian-built Sukhoi-30MKI jets were deployed at Avantipura Air Force Base near Srinagar. "At the moment we cannot elaborate further on the deployment," said Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani, spokesman of the Indian Air Force.

"The fighter jets will help our pilots in Kashmir. But we are not commenting further on the reasons." The deployment comes at a time when Pakistan is scheduled to receive several F-16 combat aircraft from the US and JF-17s from China. Under these circumstances, analysts say, the deployment of the nuclear capable jets in the volatile Kashmir region is a military posturing aimed at Pakistan.

"This forward movement is part of a deterrence for Pakistan, and to tell them if they fish in troubled waters in Kashmir, India would be ready," Major-General Ashok Mehta, a defense analyst said. The Kashmir deployment also follows problems in the India-Pakistan peace process, with New Delhi and Islamabad accusing each other of renewed support for cross-border militancy and ceasefire violations along the borders. The two countries have fought two of their three wars over the disputed Kashmir region that both claim in full but rule only in part. The Indian Air Force, the world's fourth largest, is also planning to deploy up to 40 Sukhoi jets in the northeast close to the border with China. India has also fought a brief bloody war with China over border dispute in 1962. Source


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