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India's decision to effectively bar Chinese and Pakistani entities from the Aero India air show in Bengalaru once again puts into sharp focus the strategic gulf that exists in the region.Now, with India cementing relations with western powers -- through the MMRCA competition and other programs -- as well as with Russia -- in the guise of the fifth generation fighter effort and a future airlifter -- the question becomes whether the two countries left on the outside looking in -- Pakistan and China -- will aim to do even more together.Pakistan is already acquiring the JF-17 and is seen as a strong export candidate for the J-10. But is there room to do more? Could Pakistan become a partner on the J-20 in a similar fashion in which India has signed up to partner with Russia on the T-50/PAK-FA (or Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) as India calls it)? For China, there is some question whether the arrangement would have the same value as the Russians gain out of their linkage with New Delhi. India is likely to acquire more FGFAs than Pakistan is likely to be able to afford J-20s. Conversely, a move by Islamabad to work so closely with the Chinese could raise red flags at the Pentagon and dry up the supply of defense equipment.Still, given the need for strategic posturing, such a development could provide an interesting twist in the perpetual strategic powerplay in the region.
aeroindia, ar99, J-20, india
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