According to experts, due to its reliance on a fleet of ageing Russian-made MiG and French Mirage fighters, India was vulnerable in the skies. Furthermore, half of India’s fighters are due to retire in the start of 2015 until 2024. The Tejas light combat aircraft, which is India’s first homegrown fighter, will be finally delivered in March, 30 years after it was conceived. However, senior air force officers privately said they were unimpressed. A former fighter pilot said that the plane was “so late it is obsolete”. “It could lead to humiliation at the hands of our neighbours,” AK Sachdev, a retired air force officer, wrote in the Indian Defence Review journal in 2014. He further added that an attack by China or Pakistan could stretch the Indian military. Defence strategists in New Delhi were asked to plan for this scenario, however experts said it is unlikely to take place.
When it comes to India’s ties with China, the relations are still crippled due to a dispute over their Himalayan border which led to war in 1962. New Delhi is also wary of China’s close relations with Pakistan and its increasing naval presence in the Indian Ocean.