India and Qatar Discuss Sale of 12 Used Mirage-2000 Fighter Jets

India and Qatar Discuss Sale of 12 Used Mirage-2000 Fighter Jets

India and Qatar Discuss Sale of 12 Used Mirage-2000 Fighter Jets, marking a significant development in India’s efforts to bolster its air defense capabilities.

The discussions, held in India’s capital, involved a presentation by the Qatari team on the current state of the 12 Mirage-2000 aircraft. According to defense sources, the aircraft are reportedly in excellent condition with significant operational life remaining.

Qatar is offering the jets for approximately Rs 5,000 crore (about $600 million). The package includes missiles and additional engines for flying operations, enhancing the overall value of the proposal.

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Indian Air Force’s Perspective

The Indian side is carefully considering the proposal, taking into account several factors. Compatibility with India’s existing Mirage-2000 fleet, which is more advanced than the offered aircraft, is a key consideration. Notably, the engines of both Indian and Qatari aircraft are the same, potentially simplifying maintenance procedures. The Indian officials have clarified that these aircraft are intended for flying operations, not just for spare parts, underscoring the strategic importance of this potential acquisition.

Strategic Implications

If the deal goes through, it would increase India’s Mirage fleet to 60 aircraft. The Mirage fleet, based in Gwalior, has been crucial in major operations including the Kargil War, Balakot air strikes, and has been actively involved along the Line of Actual Control with China. This expansion would significantly enhance India’s air combat capabilities.

Previous Acquisitions and Future Prospects

India has previously bolstered its Mirage fleet. During the Covid period, India acquired significant spares and equipment from a French vendor, demonstrating its commitment to maintaining this crucial fleet. In the current negotiations, the Indian Air Force is keen on acquiring the Qatari aircraft at a reasonable price, balancing cost considerations with strategic needs.

The Mirage-2000 in India’s Defense Strategy

The Mirage-2000 has been a mainstay of the Indian Air Force, proving its worth in various strategic operations. This potential acquisition underscores India’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing its air defense capabilities.

As discussions progress, the outcome of this deal could have significant implications for India’s air power and its strategic position in the region. The acquisition of these well-maintained, combat-proven aircraft could provide a cost-effective boost to India’s air defense capabilities in the short to medium term.

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