Asia Defense

India Inducts First Indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft

Plus, supersonic misfire in the Taiwan strait, carrots in the South China Sea, and more.

India Inducts First Indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft
Credit: wikimedia commons/Rinju 9

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Indian Air Force’s first Tejas fighters are inducted. In an important milestone for indigenous military aviation in India, the Indian Air Force inducted two Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) and one trainer aircraft. The fighters are manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bangalore. Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar applauded the accomplishment on Twitter, noting it as a “moment of national pride.” “Indigenously developed Tejas fighter jet inducted into Air Force. Tejas will take our air strength to new heights,” he added. The Tejas is a single-seat, single-engine, multi-role light fighter, intended to replace India’s aging fleet of MiG-21 fighters. The program has suffered several delays and cost escalations in the course of its development.

Anti-ship missile destroys fishing boat. In a completely unexpected event last week, an operational mishap during a scheduled drill caused a Taiwanese Navy Hsiung Feng III anti-ship supersonic missile to be unintentionally fired in the Taiwan strait, striking a fishing trawler and killing the boats captain. The missile was equipped with a live warhead, which fortunately did not detonate on impact. It was fired from a Ching Chiang-class guided-missile patrol vessel, off the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung.  The missile reportedly did not cross the median line of the Taiwan Strait. The accident comes as tensions are steadily rising between China and Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen’s presidential inauguration on the island in late-May. China cut off all communication with Taiwan after the inauguration.

Carrots and sticks in the South China Sea. With the Philippines’ new president, Rodrigo Duterte, inaugurated and in office, Chinese state media want to make it clear that a path to rapprochement with Beijing is open, but not through the path of international lawChina Daily, an official Chinese state newspaper, reported that Beijing is ready to bringing bilateral negotiations over the two countries’ disputes in the South China Sea. The report comes just days ahead of a July 12 verdict at the Permanent Court of Arbitration that could potentially invalidate China’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea under international law.

India’s strategic partners shortlist. The Indian Ministry of Defense will unveil a procedure for the selection of private sector “strategic partners” that would be eligible for significant defense projects. India, the world’s largest arms importer, has been steadily revising its procurement procedures and rules of foreign investment in the defense sector under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.