INDIA TESTS NEW FRENCH FIGHTER JETS IN SKIES NEAR CHINA BORDER
India’s new French Rafale jets have flown “familiarization” flights above the border region contested with China where a deadly clash between soldiers from the nuclear-armed neighbors took place in June.
The first five planes of a $9.4 billion order for 36 Rafale aircraft were formally commissioned on September 10, with Defense Minister Rajnath Singh calling them a “strong message” to New Delhi’s adversaries.
In mid-June, Chinese and Indian soldiers engaged in violent hand-to-hand fighting in the Ladakh region that left 20 Indian troops dead.
China has also acknowledged suffering casualties but has not revealed any figures.
In another incident in early September, shots were fired for the first time in 45 years on the border with China.
The announcement of the Rafale flights came as military commanders from both sides held their latest round of talks aimed at easing tensions along the disputed Himalayan border.