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Is India threatening Pakistan for Airstrike in August - September 2020? By Afshain Afzal

A strange announcement has been made by Air Marshal B Suresh, Air Officer Commanding in Chief (AOC-in-C) Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force that the personnel of the Indian Air Force including the pilots, ground crew and the fighter will be operationally ready at various Indian Air Force (IAF) Stations as Rafale fighter jets from France reach India on 29 July 2020. These aircrafts, having ability to carry nuclear warheads and are going to be deployed in three IAF bases including IAF Station, Chandigarh, IAF Station Leh, IAF Station Hindon and IAF Station Ambala while IAF Station Thoise would be alternative base in case of hostilities. The practice exercise on Fighter aircrafts took place in which a shoot down an enemy aircraft from a distance more than 100 kilometers, without even crossing the Indian air space. Without naming any country, the Air Marshal said these preparations are amidst the ongoing tension India and Pakistan and India and China. The announcement said that four newly acquired aircrafts are deployed at IAF Station Ambala while whereabouts of other Rafale fighter jets were not shared. Earlier Air Commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather, India’s Air Attaché in France confirmed the Fighter aircrafts having taken off from France.

Meanwhile, Air Commodore DS Joshi, Air Officer Commanding (AOC) IAF Station Ambala made a quick comparison of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) counter-attack ability on 27 February 2019, when Islamabad claimed to have shot down two Indian fighter jets and capturing alive of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and compared it with Indian prevailing abilities. He claimed that after acquisition and deployment of new Rafale fighter jets IAF is all prepared to strike any target inside Pakistan without even crossing the border. He hinted to carryout surgical strikes on targets inside Pakistan in August or September 2020. He added that the morale of Indian Armed Forces was low after the 27 February episode but after acquisition of Rafale fighter jets the morale of Indian Armed Forces is all time high.

Pakistan has JF-17 Fighter aircrafts falls into the category of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). The aircraft is capable of carrying short range beyond visual range (SRBVR), anti-ship as well as anti-radiation missiles. The Indian Rafale fighters are armed with Scalp cruise Air to Surface missiles, which have a range of over 300 kilometers. It can also be fitted with Missile d'Interception, de Combat et d'Autodéfense (MICA)  missile, which has two interoperable seekers (active radar and imaging infrared) to cover the spectrum from close-in dogfight to long beyond visual range. It was in 2001 that the IAF floated proposal to buy Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), however, this could not be materialized in 2012, when India agreed to buy 36 Rafale jets.  

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