The indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft is “not yet up to the mark”, and the military is looking for a temporary replacement jet to launch off carriers, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said on Friday. While the Defence Research and Development Organisation will continue to work on Tejas, the Navy is looking outside the country for a different one at the moment.
“In the present form, the LCA cannot take off with its full weapon load,” Lanba said, according to the Economic Times. He said at the moment India’s MiG-29K will operate from INS Vikrant, but another plane will be required within the next five years.
Lanba also denied Islamabad’s claim that an Indian submarine was detected and driven away from the southern coast of the country, ANI reported. Lanba said no Indian submarine was deployed in the area where Pakistan had claimed it had been found.
India deploys its submarines out of operational necessity as well as where they were needed and will continue to do so, Lanba said. The Indian Navy was “acutely aware” of its duty to provide a “favourable and positive maritime environment” in the Indian Ocean region, the Admiral said.
Regarding the deployment of Chinese Navy ships and submarines near the port of Gwadar in Pakistan, Lanba said the Indian Navy was monitoring their movement. He also said that a submarine belonging to the People’s Liberation Army had made a port call in Karachi. India had the assets and the capability to take on any force and also had plans in place for such situations, the Navy Chief added.
The alleged incident of the Indian Navy submarine being driven away by Pakistan took place on November 14. At that time, a Navy spokesperson had categorically denied Islamabad’s claim, calling them “blatant lies”. The denial came even as Pakistan said it had footage and photographic evidence of the incident.
China and Pakistan enjoy close military and economic relations. The two countries have held joint military exercises and are also working on an economic corridor from Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang province to Gwadar in Pakistan.