The first batch of five French Rafale fighter jets, out of the total 36 purchased by India in a multi-billion dollar deal, will land in Ambala on Wednesday afternoon after covering a distance of 7,000 km to join the Indian Air Force fleet. The timing of their arrival couldn't be more critical given that India is locked in a tense standoff with China in several areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Added to the Chinese threat is a very real possibility of Pakistan simultaneously opening another front against India, thereby pulling India into a two-front war. Military aviation experts say Rafale's addition to India's fighter fleet would significantly enhance the Air Force's overall operational capability to counter the Chinese threat, and it would also provide effective deterrence against Pakistani aggression. Rafale's induction will change the technological imbalance India had in air vis-à-vis Pakistan's US-supplied F16 aircrafts with superior radar and missile system as well as China-supplied Chengdu JF-17, which is at the centre of Pakistani Air Force's fleet modernisation plans. So how does Dassault-made Rafale fare against the China-made JF-17 fighter jets used by the Pakistan's Air Force? And what would be the outcome of any encounter between… Read full this story
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