According to the WDMMA Global Air Powers Ranking (2023), the IAF ranked 6th with a score of 69.4, above China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force and below only the various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and Russia. The WDMMA stresses that its rankings are not simply the number of aircraft but also its quality and inventory mix. Aside from this, it also considers force encounter for its annual ranking.

In 2020, the India-China border clash in its contested Himalayan borders was the worst it has experienced in decades. It is speculated that this event triggered the Indian government into a crash procurement to reinforce its air force, which only had 31 squadrons at the time.

In February 2023, the Indian Air Force (IAF) acquired 114 fighter jets for its ongoing 500-fighter aircraft acquisition process. In line with the IAF’s effort to boost its dwindling fighter strength, the acquisition is set to help the IAF achieve its target of 42 squadrons.

At the time, The Hindu claimed that Air Marshal Narmdeshwar Tiwari, Deputy Chief of Air Force, said that delays were due to ongoing evaluation of their Make in India efforts, which encompasses capabilities for upgrading locally instead of relying on a foreign manufacturer.

Although the HAL Tejas still uses an American engine, the Indian Ministry of Defense confirmed that the Transfer of Technology for its manufacturing had been negotiated during the Prime Minister’s U.S. visit in June 2023.

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