Deployment of a squadron of fourth generation Sukhoi-30 MKI equipped with BrahMos missiles in a southern airbase, though first such move, is the beginning of India’s maritime dominance in the Indian Ocean region viz-a-viz the expansion of Chinese presence in the area. China has been beefing its presence recently as the area from Singapore to Dubai forms one of the busiest maritime corridors and China’s presence is to show its muscle in the region. India by deploying a strategic air squadron on the southern airbase shore will work as a deterrent for the Chinese expansion game and would be seen as a game-changer in guarding the strategically important Indian Ocean Region (IOR) that has seen growing Chinese presence. Besides this the squadron would undertake the air defence of Southern peninsula and more importantly with this special maritime capability and would also provide protection to our island territories and sea lines of communication in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) . The IOR is increasingly gaining importance and the presence of a fighter squadron that will provide security cover to all our strategic and vital assets in the region. There has been a gradual to an accelerated expansion of varied maritime forces in the region which could afffect the existing military balance. China already has a military base at the strategically located Djibouti at the horn of Africa, its first in a foreign nation, and it is also looking at expanding its presence. Enhancement of the IAF’s capability with the induction of the squad was in response to both conventional and non conventional threats in the IOR and to ensure security and stability in the region.The Indian Ocean Region, faced numerous challenges such as drug trafficking, piracy and maritime terrorism and the busiest trans oceanic trade route. The IOR is so important that more than 80 per cent of India’s energy supply was routed through it and it is likely to grow to 95 per cent by 2025.
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