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India to have fifth-generation jets in 2018 with Russia: IAF

New Delhi: India will introduce an advanced fighter jet it is building with Russia in 2018, a move that will bring sophistication to its air power but could also spark unease among neighbours China and Pakistan.

New Delhi has watched warily as China has made rapid strides in defence, worried that Beijing's long-term strategy for the region could involve encircling India.

Indian military commanders have stressed greater firepower as a counter-measure, particularly for the air force. The fifth generation fighter aircraft joint project with Russia is part of that strategy.

"The fifth generation aircraft would possess technologies which would provide it (India) the edge over adversaries in future air warfare," P.V. Naik, the Chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF), said in a written statement sent to Reuters.

"China is rapidly modernising its air force ... On our part, the IAF is reviewing its tactics regularly to increase its combat potential," Naik said.

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