Rajat Pandit, TNN | Aug 22, 2014
NEW DELHI: After basing its most potent Sukhoi-30MKI fighters at Tezpur and Chabua, India has now begun deploying six Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM) squadrons in the northeast to deter Chinese jets, helicopters and drones against any misadventure in the region.
Defence ministry sources on Thursday said IAF has started getting deliveries of the six Akash missile squadrons, which can “neutralize” multiple targets at 25-km interception range in all-weather conditions, earmarked for the eastern theatre.
“IAF has deployed the first two Akash squadrons at the Mirage-2000 base in Gwalior and Sukhoi base in Pune. The next six squadrons, as approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security, are to guard against any threat from the northern borders,” said a source.
This long-delayed but finally successful induction of the Akash systems, developed by DRDO and manufactured by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics, has also led to scrapping of the protracted discussions to develop the ‘Maitri’ short-range SAMs with France at a cost of around Rs 30,000 crore.
The Akash deployment in the northeast is in tune with the overall plan to progressively achieve “meaningful and credible deterrence” against China along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC).