The Indian Air Force [IAF] is creating a â€œswing fleetâ€ in preparation for a potential simultaneous two-front war scenario with China and Pakistan.New Delhiâ€™s strategic two-front doctrine is best described as separate-yet-coordinated attacks on Indiaâ€™s western front by Pakistan and on its northern front by China. IAF made a formal announcement April 14 in New Delhi, saying it had validated its doctrine of responding to a two-front war scenario and the key will be the â€œswing fleet.â€ â€œAll possible air battle scenarios in the event of a two-front war were simulated and acted upon. These capabilities were validated successfully,â€ the IAF stated. The announcement came after the three-week pan-India war game code-named â€œLivewire.â€ It involved more than 600 platforms including combat planes, tactical lift air craft, transporters, helicopters and airborne early warning radars. The two-phase exercise commenced on March 18 and ended on April 4. The scenario represented IAFâ€™s biggest ever exercise, involving all five commands. The exercises featured more than 8,000 hours of flying to maintain the â€œhigh-tempo surge operations.â€ â€œThe spectrum of exercises covered offensive and defensive operations, which included a mimicked attack on strategic and tactical assets of the â€œenemyâ€ and defense of Indiaâ€™s own assets,â€ Vice Chief of the IAF Air Marshal DC Kumaria said. Hydro power-producing dams in the Himalayas, civilian nuclear reactors, crude oil refineries, seaports and military bases are on Indiaâ€™s protected list, meaning high surveillance priority. The IAFâ€™s new fiber optic network provided real-time imagery, voice and data from airborne early warning radars, UAVs and ground radars. India has edgy relations with its neighbor Pakistan as well as a century-old border dispute with China. Almost two-thirds of the border between India and China is unmarked along the Himalayas. The countries fought a full-scale war in 1962 and had a skirmish in 1967. â€œChina can â€˜throwâ€™ at least 21 fighter squadrons against India, from its eight airbases in Tibet and other airfields to their north. Even more Chinese fighters can join forces if they are allowed by Myanmar [Burma] [to overfly and reach northeastern India]. Similarly, Pakistan can deploy 21 to 25 fighter squadrons against India,â€ The Times of India reported. The IAF has 34 squadrons. This fleet may be inadequate to counter the collective and simultaneous threat that New Delhi perceives from Pakistan and China. The swing fleet will include fighter aircraft and special operations aircraft aided by a mid-air refueler, in this case the Russian-built Ilyushin IL-78. â€œThe fleet will comprise earmarked fighters that can swiftly fly non-stop from the western border to the eastern front, some 2,000 kilometers [1,242 miles] away, to tackle a threat,â€ IAF officials said at a media briefing. IAFâ€™s prime combat assets â€“ including the Russian-origin twin-engine Sukhoi-30 MKI, a fourth-generation warplane, and the tactical lift aircraft, such as the U.S.-produced C-130J â€“ are based on the western flank of India facing Pakistan. In the past three years, Sukhoi-30MKI planes have been positioned in the northeast in view of a Chinese threat in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. During World War II, the Allied forces flew in reinforcements over this route. The IAF tested its capabilities to mobilize its frontline fighter and transport aircraft from the western border to the eastern front. It used the recently developed Advanced Landing Grounds [ALG] in the northeast. The ALG is an Indian explanation for mud-paved landing grounds the British created in during World War II as part of the operations to counter Japanâ€™s advance in Burma. Air Marshal Kumaria said â€œall planes that can be refueled mid-air are part of it.â€ The Sukhoi-30MKI, French-origin Mirage 2000 and British-origin Jaguars in the IAF fighter-jet fleet can be refueled mid-air. The C-130J also can be refueled mid-air. This fleet will be needed until the IAF increases its strength from the existing 34 squadrons to the mandated 42 squadrons. This process may take a decade. Older fighter planes in the IAF inventory, such as the MiG 29, MiG 27 and the MiG 21, are not part of the fleet as they cannot fly non-stop from one end of India to the other. A Standing Committee of Indian Parliament in an April 2012 report said: â€œThere is an urgent need to build defense capabilities to face any challenge including the worst scenario of a two-front war. â€¦ The committee may like to emphasize that India is surrounded by difficult neighbors and as such there is an urgent need to allocate adequate outlay to the Services [armed forces].â€ In a debate in Parliament last May, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament, Arun Jaitley, said, â€œIndia had to be prepared for a 90-day full spectrum war. â€¦ How do we defeat Pakistan and how do we hold China? All this has to be factored in.â€ Defense Minister AK Antony has asked for an additional $12 billion [USD], saying: â€œIn the 12th Plan period [2012-17], we will build a new offensive corps, with two specialized divisions for high-altitude areas [the Himalayas].â€ Instead, New Delhi cut $2.4 billion [USD] from the fiscal 2012-13 defense budget of $38.6 billion [USD]. Chinese arms sales to Pakistan may present another challenge for New Delhi. China sends 55 percent of its arms exports to Pakistan, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute [SIPRI] March 2013 report. The China-Pakistan cooperation involving the transfer of missile, nuclear and space technology to Pakistan has been a matter of concern for Indian policy makers. China previously sold, tanks, warships and fighters jets to Islamabad.