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India dominates heights, Rafales roar over Ladakh

Sep 21, 2020 07:57 IST

New Delhi, PTI: Even as India and China are holding another round of talks, the India Army has further bolstered its dominance in over 20 mountain heights around the friction points near the Pangong lake, sources said. They also said that the IAF is set to use the newly-inducted Rafale jets to carry out sorties in Ladakh as part of the overall boosting of combat readiness in view of "provocative actions" by Chinese troops including the three incidents of shots being fired in the air in the last three weeks. The sources said the Indian Army also strengthened its dominance in over 20 strategic mountain heights around the northern and southern banks of Pangong Lake as well as in the extended general area of Chushul in the last few days even as freezing conditions are gripping the area, the sources said. The deployment of French-made Rafale jets in Ladakh came less than 10 days after they were formally inducted into the IAF. At a ceremony in Ambala on September 10 where five Rafale jets were inducted into the IAF, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the induction of the fleet was crucial considering the atmosphere being created along the frontier and that it is a "big and stern" message to those eyeing India's sovereignty. Speaking on the occasion, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria had said the induction of Rafale jets could not have happened at a more opportune time considering the security scenario. The Rafale fleet is stationed in Ambala air force station. The multirole Rafale jets, built by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are known for air-superiority and precision strikes. "The Rafale jets are flying around Ladakh," said a source without elaborating. The IAF has deployed almost all its frontline fighter jets like Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 aircraft in the key frontier air bases in eastern Ladakh and elsewhere along the LAC. The IAF is also carrying out night time combat air patrols in the eastern Ladakh region. The IAF has also deployed Apache attack choppers as well as Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to transport troops to various forward locations in eastern Ladakh. The sources said the Army has made elaborate arrangements to maintain the current level of troops and weapons in all forward areas in eastern Ladakh and other sensitive high-altitude sectors in the harsh winter months when the temperature drops up to minus 25 degrees Celsius. They said the situation remained tense in both southern and northern banks of the Pangong lake areas as well as in other friction points.