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India Strengthens Defense: New Fighter Jet Squadron Deployed in Srinagar to Counter Pakistan and China

India has stationed an upgraded squadron of MiG-29 fighter jets at the Srinagar air base to address potential dangers from both the Pakistani and Chinese borders.

The Tridents squadron, now recognized as the ‘Defender of the North,’ has taken over from the MiG-21 squadron at the Srinagar air base, which traditionally managed threats from Pakistan.

Given Srinagar’s central location in the Kashmir valley and its elevated position, aircraft with higher weight-to-thrust ratios, quicker response times, advanced avionics, and extended-range missiles are strategically preferable near the border. Squadron Leader Vipul Sharma of the Indian Air Force told news agency ANI, “The MiG-29 fulfils all these criteria due to which we are capable of taking in the enemies on both fronts.”

In contrast to the MiG-21s, which effectively guarded the Kashmir valley for years and notably downed an F-16 in 2019 following the Balakot airstrikes on Pakistani terrorist camps, the MiG-29s have several advantages. These upgraded MiG-29s are equipped with long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, having benefited from government-granted emergency procurement powers for the armed forces.

Officials revealed that the MiG-29s can also disrupt enemy aircraft capabilities during conflicts.

Squadron Leader Shivam Rana, another pilot, highlighted the aircraft’s enhanced capabilities, including night operations with night vision goggles and extended range through air-to-air refueling. Additionally, the aircraft now feature air-to-ground weaponry, an enhancement absent previously.

The MiG-29s were relocated to the Srinagar air base in January and have extensively patrolled the Kashmir valley and Ladakh sector. In the event of any airspace violation attempts by China, they are poised to respond promptly.

The MiG-29s were initially deployed to the Ladakh sector following the 2020 Galwan clash to counter threats from the Chinese side and have effectively thwarted multiple such attempts since then.

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