China’s J-11 fighter jets in Ladakh
According to China’s state-run Global Times PLA warplanes recently conducted a “series of intensive exercises around a Western Theater Command Air Force base, which is located at an important strategic point in northwest China”.
The warplanes conducted “mock battles” with “J-11 fighter jet was seen flying at very low levels in the mountains”. China’s western theatre command consists of Tibet, Xinjiang, Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and Shaanxi. The Global Times quoting other Chinese media sources said the exercises were held in the “vast desert in Northwest China”.
“The J-11 fighter jet series is one of the PLA’s main pieces of combat equipment used in missions like air defense and seizing air superiority,” it said.
Rafale jets “familiarisation” flights above LAC
India Air Force had earlier flown the new French Rafale jets as a “familiarisation” flights above the border along the Line of Actual Control(LAC). According to newswire AFP which quoted a senior officer, Rafale fighter jets have been familiarising in our operational areas including Ladakh.
India’s defence ministry had said earlier during the commissioning of the Rafale jets that the fighter planes had “already flown and familiarised with our operational environment” without specifically mentioning Ladakh.
The announcement was made even as military commanders from both sides held their latest round of talks aimed at easing tensions along the disputed Himalayan border.
Rafale vs China
Rajnath Singh had earlier said the new French Rafale jets were “strong message” amid an escalating border row with China. The first five of a $9.4-billion order for 36 Rafale aircraft formally entered service following a ceremony in Ambala in northern India in September.
Amid tensions along the LAC, India has embarked on a $130-billion modernisation of its armed forces including ordering attack helicopters from the United States and a missile defence system from Russia.