G20 summit: IAF deploying combat jets, anti-drone systems, surveillance equipment to secure make skies

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is deploying frontline fighter jets, radars, anti-drone systems and surface-to-air missiles as part of its elaborate efforts to secure the skies of Delhi and neighbouring regions for the G20 summit next week, military sources said on Friday.

The IAF has already set up a dedicated Operations Direction Centre (ODC) for coordinating various aspects of the arrangements with security agencies concerned, they said.

India is hosting the G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9 and 10 in its capacity as the current president of the grouping.

The assets being pressed into service to secure Delhi’s airspace as well as the flight path within India of various leaders include combat jets Rafales, Mirage-2000s and Sukhoi-30MKIs, the sources said.

Indigenously-developed NETRA airborne early warning and control systems as well as high-end surveillance equipment are among the key platforms that have been deployed already, they said.

The missiles that have been deployed include Akash as well as the Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MR-SAM) systems.

Having a range of 70 km, the MRSAM, is a quick reaction, vertically launched missile designed to neutralise enemy aerial threats such as missiles, aircraft, guided bombs and helicopters.

The Akash, with a range of up to 25 km, is a short range surface to air missile primarily used for protecting vulnerable areas and points from air attacks.

The IAF has also put all its air bases in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir on operational readiness as part of the overall security measures.

The overall security measures are being coordinated with various other agencies concerned, the sources said.

“We are taking every possible measure to ensure full-proof security for the G20 summit,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

“We are deploying assets to deal with all sorts of threats including slow-moving targets to high-speed ones,” the official added.

The security of the air space of Delhi and neighbouring regions are being primarily handled by the IAF’s Delhi headquartered Western Command. However, assets of other commands are also being deployed.

A majority of G20 leaders including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have already confirmed their participation at the summit.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and  Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are also among the G20 leaders who confirmed their participation at the summit.

The G20 member countries represent around 85 percent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.   The grouping comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union (EU).