Ahead of the 2020 Republic Day parade being held amid the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi, security officials were concerned about the possible use of drones to breach Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security.
They did have the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO)’s anti-drone system installed for the parade but they felt there was a gap.
They needed a mobile system that could be part of the prime minister’s cavalcade to prevent an untoward incident. One country that promptly came forward to offer the mobile anti-drone system for PM Modi’s security was the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A little over a year later as New Delhi prepares to fly at least four Rafale fighters from France to Ambala airbase, the UAE will again help out. Its air force will deploy its Airbus 330 multi-role transport tankers (MRTT) later this month to provide mid-air refuelling to the Rafale jets so that the fourth-generation-plus fighters can fly non-stop to India.
The UAE will extend the facility to the next batch of eight fighters that are expected to be flagged off from France by the visiting Indian Air Chief RKS Bhadauria in April. This would enable the Indian Air Force to activate the second base of the Rafale fighters
This means that the second base of Rafale fighters, the strategically-located air force base in north Bengal’s Hasimara, will be activated by April. The deployment at this base, located close to the tri-junction of Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet, will strengthen India’s air capability in India’s eastern sector manifold.