Amid the ongoing border tensions with China in the Galwan valley of East Ladakh, India’s ally, France has become the first country to offer India the support of its armed forces. France is a key supplier of weapons and an all-weather partner of India. The France government has also sped up the deliveries of additional combat-ready Rafale fighter jets to the Indian Air Force, expected to be delivered by 27 July. France is reworking the calendar for supplying the planes to India at a faster pace.
Florence Parly, the Defence Minister of France had also written a letter to his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, expressing her condolences for the Armed forces and their bereaved families.
“This was a hard blow against the soldiers, their families and the nation. In these difficult circumstances, I wish to express my steadfast and friendly support, along with that of the French armed forces. I request you to kindly convey my heartfelt condolences to the entire Indian armed forces as well as to the grieving families,” the minister had written.
Paris has also proposed a visit by Parly, which is a first of sorts since the global pandemic broke out. France is looking to show its unwavering commitment to India by following up on the Chinese skirmishes in the region. It is evident that Macron and his ruling party wants to reiterate its “deep solidarity” with India.
An early homecoming for Rafale
On a request from India, fighter pilots currently in France have also been given specialized training for aerial refuelling. Cutting-edge weaponry on jets, including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles are being sent ahead of time, according to a report in ET.
According to The Print, the jets can be deployed for combat quicker than anticipated as France has diverted some of the game-changing missiles — Meteor and SCALP — meant for its air force to the Rafale jets for India. Originally, this was supposed to happen months after the delivery of the fighter jets.
Allies turning up one by one—China feeling the heat
As India stands up to Chinese aggression at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh and considers military pushback against the Dragon in case things escalate, New Delhi’s defence allies are pitching in with arms and ammunition. From France to the US to Russia, the Modi Government has got ubiquitous support.
Russia will supply one billion US dollars worth of ammunition, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), and Man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS). Recently, Rajnath Singh had visited Russia to expedite the delivery of the S-400 anti-air defence system, the most powerful missile defence system in the world.
Washington will also deliver precision artillery rounds- an important factor in high-altitude warfare in case of limited theatre conflict between India and China.
The US is already pulling its troops from Germany to station them in the Indo-pacific and the South China Sea, which will put additional pressure on Beijing.
The United States is also going to share vital intelligence and satellite imagery which will lend greater clarity to India’s military planners regarding China’s moves on its side of the LAC. Washington has also asked New Delhi to share a list of all requirements and has committed to supply them at the earliest.
Now, with battle-tested weapons and equipment coming from the US, Russia, and Israel, apart from the cutting-edge Rafale jets, India has a clear advantage over China. China is already engaged on multiple fronts, and if things move to an armed confrontation, it would mark the end of Chinese hegemony in the present world order.