New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed MiG-29 fighter aircraft at the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad on the outskirts of Delhi following escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan.
The deployment of fighter aircraft at the Hindon airbase follows the heightened threat of an aerial attack on New Delhi.
MiG-29s have been deployed at Delhi's doorsteps after over a decade after the Hindon airbase on the outskirts of Delhi was reactivated for fighter flying for the first time since 1997.
With intelligence reports of an heightened threat of an aerial attack on new Delhi, the fighters have been deployed to intercept and shoot down any rogue aircraft which may slip past the conventional air defence.
"The Hindon is in close proximity of Delhi and its a military base. So the proximity factor is very much there and it helps," Air Marshal (retired) VK Bhatia says.
The deployment of the MiG-29s at Hindon is one of the symbols of escalation of military tensions with Pakistan following the terror attacks at Mumbai and will be the last line of defence against a high-impact, 9/11 kind of an air attack on Delhi.
Deployment at Hindon airbase will cut the IAF's response time in scrambling fighters for the defence of Delhi by 10 minutes, which could prove crucial in foiling an attack.
Presently, fighters have to be activated from bases as far away as Ambala. Also, every single base in the region has been put on a level of alert which makes it possible for a fighter aircraft to be airborne within two minutes.
But there is still no guarantee of foolproof defence against a terror attack from the air.
"Any terrorist who is not afraid to die can penetrate any security system,"
Air Marshal (retired) VK Bhatia cautions.
Any further attack on India will put tremendous pressure on the government to come up with a military response.
With sources indicating similar war-time alerts in Pakistan, the mandate of the MiG-29s on Delhi's doorstep is to prevent such a provocation, which could lead to a war-like situation.
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