Two MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jet aircraft. Photo: iStock

India has started negotiations with Russia for the purchase of at least 21 MiG-29 fighter jets, The Print, an Indian website, reported on February 12.

The Indian Air Force has a variety of Soviet-era and Russian aircraft as well as some French Dassault Mirages and UK-France SEPECAT Jaguar warplanes.

According to The Print, the MiG-29s that India now wants to buy will be upgraded in accordance with Indian Air Force requirements.

With the new air-to-air refueling feature, the upgraded MiGs will be able to cover larger distances compared with older versions of the same aircraft.

“That is something the Indian Air Force is keen on, keeping in mind the possibility of a two-front war scenario,” The Print reported.

Stronger air force

An Indian parliamentary panel on defense has suggested that a stronger air force is needed to fight “a two-front war with Pakistan and China simultaneously.”

India has also signed a deal with Russia worth more than US$5 billion on the delivery of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, which analysts say would be used to counter perceived Chinese and Pakistani threats in the Himalayas, as well as in maritime areas.

Apart from strengthening its northern defenses, India is going to establish a new naval air base on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

The facility, the third in the strategically located islands, will, to begin with, have a 1,000-meter runway for helicopters and surveillance aircraft. Eventually, it will be extended to 3,000 meters to support fighter jets and longer-range reconnaissance aircraft

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