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Former Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhaduria, has shed light on the aerial tensions during the 2021 standoff with China near Ladakh. In a recent statement, he revealed that the Rafale fighter jets, India’s most advanced aircraft at the time, played a central role.

According to Bhaduria, when the situation escalated, the Rafales were India’s strongest aerial defense. He further stated that China responded swiftly to their deployment. As soon as the first Rafale landed in Leh, China reportedly deployed four of their latest J-20 stealth fighters. This tit-for-tat escalation continued, with China deploying 20 J-20s by the time India had positioned four Rafales.

These revelations echo Bhaduria’s comments from 2021, where he acknowledged China’s maneuvers and emphasized India’s awareness of their capabilities. He reassured the public that the IAF was taking necessary steps to counter China’s airpower. Bhaduria also confirmed that the Rafale’s arrival did indeed cause concern in the Chinese camp.

The deployment of these advanced fighter jets by both sides highlights the seriousness of the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). While the specifics of the current aerial deployment remain classified, Bhaduria’s statements offer a glimpse into the high-stakes air power dynamics at play during the 2021 standoff.

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