India deploys new jets along China border

NEW DELHI, June 9 -- Indian defense officials say they will deploy their new Sukhoi 30-MKI advanced fighter jets along the country's sensitive border with China.

Defense Ministry representative Col. R. Kalia said Tuesday the four multi-role strike fighter jets would be deployed next week at the Indian air force base in Tezpur, about 115 miles north of Assam state's main city of Guwahati, near where China is alleged to have made border incursions, Times of India-IANS reported.

"Four Sukhoi 30-MKI fighter jets would land first and soon it would be a full squadron comprising of 18 aircraft," Kalia said.

The newspaper said the fighter jets are capable of carrying nuclear weapons and have been made to Indian specifications. They are a variant of the Sukhoi SU-30 produced by Russia's Sukhoi Corp. and India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. for the Indian air force.

"There are more plans to improve infrastructure in the northeastern region, including developing four or five airfields and advanced landing grounds, besides putting our best assets in the region," an unnamed senior Indian air force official told Times of India-IANS.
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