Tensions are mounting between India and Pakistan, as another attack occurred on May 3rd, killing 5 Indian officials, in North Kashmir. This attack occurred hardly a year after a suicide attack claimed the lives of 40 Indians, in Pulwama. New Delhi expects the delivery of the Rafale Fighters and S400 missiles to secure its interests in the Northernmost region of its territory.
Pakistani-Indian relations have always sat on a razor’s edge, ever since the inception of both countries, but tensions have seldom been this high. In 2019, 40 reserve police officers were killed in a car-ram suicide attack in Lethpora, by a member of Jaish-e-Mohammed (Mohamed’s army), a muslim-oriented organization. Despite Islamabad denying any connection to the attack, India has ruled that the raid was of Pakistani origin. On May 3rd, of 2020, another, smaller-scale, attack claimed the lives of 5 Indians in the same region (4 military and 1 police officer).
The coronavirus crisis has disrupted all supply routes worldwide, and delayed the delivery of two major armament programs to India: the French Rafale multi-role fighter and the Russian S400 missile. These new types of equipment will enable India to take advantage of gaps in the Pakistani air defense network. Defense reporter Usman Ansani writes: “Pakistan reportedly deployed medium-range LY-80/HQ-16 air defense systems in Kashmir to deter further Indian incursions, but analyst and former Pakistan Air Force pilot Kaiser Tufail believes this may not be enough.” It is foreseen that deliveries will occur three months behind schedule, due to coronavirus disruptions.
Pakistan currently relies on a fleet of older-design F-16 fighter jets, the design of which dates back to the 1970s. By receiving France’s advanced 4th generation aircrafts, India would be virtually sure to establish aerial dominance in the region. S400 Russian missiles will also represent a vivid threat for Pakistani F-16 fighters.