By Ajit K Dubey
New Delhi [India], July 21 (ANI): At a time when Indian Navy's P-8I surveillance planes are carrying out frequent sweeps over the Eastern Ladakh sector, the Navy's maritime fighter jets MiG-29K will be deployed in the Northern sector for operations.
The deployment of the naval fighter aircraft at the Indian Air Force (IAF) bases is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's directives for enhancing jointness between the three services and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat's call for the possibility of deployment of maritime combat aircraft along the northern or western borders with the Air Force.
"It is being planned to deploy the MiG-29K fighter aircraft at an Indian Air Force base in the northern sector. They might be used for carrying out operational flying in the Eastern Ladakh sector along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)," government sources told ANI.
The Indian Navy has a fleet of over 40 MiG-29K fighter jets that are deployed on the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and carry out regular flying from the naval fighter base INS Hansa in Goa.
The Russian-origin fighters were procured by the Indian Navy along with the aircraft carrier over a decade ago.
Amid the ongoing dispute with the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), the Indian Navy has been playing an important role as its planes are being used for surveillance along the LAC for picking up the Chinese activities and positions there.
The surveillance aircraft were used extensively during the Doklam crisis as well.
The Indian Navy is also carrying out an exercise close to the Malacca Straits from where the Chinese Navy enters into the Indian Ocean Region.
"The warships and submarines of the Western Fleet are carrying out wargames near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territories as part of their deployment," government sources said.
The nuclear submarines including the INS Chakra and INS Arihant are also out of their harbours, they added.
Aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya has also been out in the sea for missions with its carrier battle group. The Indian Navy has been keeping a constant eye on the activities of the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean Region where they come regularly with their warships including Landing Platform Docks and long-range frigates and destroyers.
Indian Navy warships also carried out a passage exercise with the American aircraft carrier USS Nimitz a few days ago amid the tensions with China. (ANI)