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2 Pilots Killed In Air Force's MiG-21 Jet Crash In Rajasthan's Barmer

JAIPUR, July 28: Two pilots were killed on Thursday evening when Air Force's MiG-21 jet crashed during a training sortie in Rajasthan's Barmer.

"A twin seater Mig-21 trainer aircraft of the IAF was airborne for a training sortie from Utarlai air base in Rajasthan this evening. Around 9:10 pm, the aircraft met with an accident near Barmer. Both pilots sustained fatal injuries," the Air Force said in a statement.

"IAF deeply regrets the loss of lives and stands firmly with the bereaved families," it further said.

A court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident, it said.

According to the Air Force, the MiG-21 is a Soviet-era single-engine multirole fighter/ground attack aircraft that forms the backbone of its fleet.

It was first inducted into the IAF in the 1960s, soon after the Indo-China War and upgraded to the MiG-21 Bison version in 2006.

The upgrades included powerful multi-mode radars, better avionics and communication systems. Although these jets could initially only carry "dumb bombs", they are now capable of transporting a wide range of guided munitions.

India to deploy second S-400 squadron near China border amidst Ladakh Standoff

NEW DELHI, July 25: A new squadron of S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems is set to become operational in the next two to three months along the northern borders with China.

The addition to the Indian Air Force (IAF) will give a boost to India's ability to detect and destroy hostile fighters, strategic bombers, missiles and drones at long ranges.

Sources noted that the delivery of the second operational S-400 squadron through ships and aircraft is underway from Russia. It would be the first military delivery ever since the Russia-Ukraine war erupted earlier this year in February.

Notably, the fresh delivery of the S-400 squadron comes in the backdrop of China increasing its air activity near Ladakh. Chinese fighters were often sighted flying close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) violating the 10 km no-fly zone between the two sides.

"Chinese fighter deployments and sorties have gone up along the 3,488-km LAC since mid-June, especially across Ladakh but also in other sectors like Arunachal Pradesh. There are often two-three Chinese fighter sorties near the LAC in a day," a source noted.

The first S-400 squadron, delivered in December last year, is deployed n Northwest India to tackle threats from both, Pakistan and China. The second S-400 squadron will be deployed on the China front.

Earlier this year in April, the IAF obtained 'simulators and other equipment for S-400 training squadron.'

India to have joint theatre command of tri-services: Rajnath Singh

JAMMU, July 24: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said a joint theatre commands of tri-services would be set up to enhance coordination among armed forces. He was speaking during a programme organised by the Jammu Kashmir People's Forum to pay tributes to the martyrs of the Indian Armed Forces.

"Keeping in view (joint operations as seen in Operation Vijay in Kargil), we have decided to set up joint theatre commands (in the country)," Singh said.

In June 2021, the government formed an eight-member panel to fine-tune the theaterisation plans and bring all stakeholders on board, especially the Indian Air Force, for speedy roll-out of the new joint structures.

The Indian military’s theaterisation model, a long-awaited reform, will have inbuilt flexibility to fall back on the current command and control structures to deal with any contingency during the transition phase, an official said. Stabilisation of theatre commands could take up to five years, and it is critical to ensure that there is a mechanism to swiftly return to the pre-theaterisation status quo if a crisis unfolds when the restructuring is underway.

Singh, paying homage to martyrs, also said the country cannot forget their supreme sacrifice to safeguard the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

"It is the duty of the society and the people to give their utmost respect to the martyrs and their families," he said.

"Whatever support you can offer, do to for their families. It is the responsibility of each citizen," he added.

The defence minister also said India is moving quickly from being the world's largest importer of defence equipment to an exporter.

"India was the world's largest importer (of defence products). Today, India is not the world's largest importer but is among the top 25 nations engaged in defence exports," he pointed out.

Singh said the country has started defence exports worth ₹13,000 crore and it has fixed a target to increase it to ₹35,000 to ₹40,000 crore by 2025-26.


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