BEIJING: China's plan to deploy advanced fighter jets on the borders with India is likely to trigger a fresh showdown with New Delhi, according to a report in Sputnik.
The report claims that China's People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has boosted its high-altitude capacities along the country's southwestern borders by sending more top-of-the-line jet fighters to the area.
Earlier this month, PLAAF had published photos of Chengdu J-10 Vigorous Dragon multirole fighters and Shenyang J-11 (a modified version of the famous Soviet Sukhoi Su-27) air superiority fighters participating in combat training exercises in western China.
A PLA expert Song Zhongping had told the state-owned Global Times that the purpose of deploying additional fighter jets is to boost Chinese military strength in case of conflict against India.
Zhongping further stated that China's military build-up is in line with India's military preparations.
''Since India is gearing up already, it's necessary for China to prepare for a possible military confrontation. And in these mountainous areas, superiority in the air is of utmost importance," the PLA expert added.
China's plan to deploy its top-of-the-line fighters comes in the wake of reports that India has been bolstering its military presence along the Chinese border.
The Chinese are fully aware that India has recently deployed Su-30 MKI long-range fighters, which are the Indian modification of the Soviet Sukhoi Su-30, to the India-China border.
However, when quizzed about the move, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang downplayed it.
"I am not aware of the information mentioned by you. I may refer you to the military," he said in a statement.
"We hope the Indian side can work with China to uphold the peace and tranquillity of the border areas because this is in common interests of both sides," the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman added.
It is to be noted the ties between India and China were severely hit when the two sides deployed military force to the Doklam Plateau, a remote mountain range that is disputed between China and India's close ally Bhutan.
The stand-off between India and China ended only after both nations pulled their troops back on August 28 following quiet negotiations between the two powers and the road-building came to an end.
However, several weeks after the resolution of the Doklam stand-off, reports surfaced in October that China is again boosting its military presence near the disputed region.
A satellite image obtained in January further confirmed that the PLA was settling into permanent military encampments a few miles back from the site of the stand-off.
Moreover, the two sides have crisscrossed over India state Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims to be part of South Tibet.
Beijing has also made objections to Prime Minister Narendra Modi past visits to Arunachal Pradesh.