In a symbol of escalating military tension between India and Pakistan, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed its MiG-29 fighter jets at the Hindon air base on the outskirts of the national capital.
The Hindon air base has been reactivated for fighter operations after a gap of 10 years. “We are not leaving anything to chance in the wake of the Mumbai terror strikes,” IAF sources said.
The positioning of the Mig-29 jets at Hindon will cut down the IAF response time in an emergency situation by at least 10 minutes. If these fighters had not been deployed at Hindon, they may have had to be scrambled from the air bases at Ambala and Bareilly.
Sources said pilots of the MiG-29 fighters have been tasked to intercept and shoot down any rogue aircraft that may slip past conventional defenses.
All fighter bases under the Western Air Command are in a state of high alert and capable of launching a fighter jet in two minutes. The bases of the Western Air Command are scattered over vast areas extending from Jammu and Kashmir to the Thar desert.
The MiG-29 jets deployed at Hindon forms the last line of defense for the safety of the national capital. Official sources do not rule out the possibility of a 9/11 type of an aerial attack on high value targets in India.
Earlier this week, Pakistan had accused the IAF of violating its airspace in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and Lahore sectors. The charge was denied by the IAF. Pakistan later retracted its allegation, describing the incident as a “technical incursion”. IAF sources said that three MiG-29 fighters had been placed at the Hindon air base two days ago.