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IAF prepared to fight anytime: Air Force Chief

IANS | Hindon Air Force Base |

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, on Sunday said the Indian Air Force (IAF) is prepared to fight at any time, and also warned of the possibility of a “short and swift” conflict in the present geo-political scenario.

“Notwithstanding the pace of ongoing acquisition, modernisation, indigenisation efforts and our desire for peace, we are prepared to fight at a short notice should the need arise,” Dhanoa said in his address on the occasion of the 85th Air Force Day at the Hindon Air Force base.

“It’s the duty of each one of us to remain combat worthy, whether on ground or in the air, and also maintain our combat system operational for any contingency at short notice.”

The Air Force Chief said the IAF is confident to take on any threat and is fully prepared to undertake the full spectrum of air operations and respond to any challenge in a befitting manner.

In his message on Air Force Day, published in the booklet that contained citations of those who were awarded gallantry and service medals on Sunday, Dhanoa also warned of the possibility of “short and swift” conflicts.

“The uncertainties in the present geo-political environment may require IAF to act in varied challenging situations. Our foremost responsibility is to protect our country from foreign aggression. The nature of conflict in the present geo-political environment may require us to fight a short and swift war for which we need to be alert and prepared to fight at short notice,” Dhanoa said.

“We also face with the daunting challenge of sub-conventional threats on our assets by terrorists. To counter such threats our Coot Camp at Naliya and Young Officers Courses at Bhatinda and procurement of state of art equipment have bolstered the security of our bases,” he said.

The IAF chief also said losses during peacetime is a cause of concern.

Asked about the Mi-17 V5 chopper crash of Friday in which five Air Force and two Army personnel were killed, Dhanoa said that the tail rotor of the helicopter appeared to have flown off.

“It appears that the tail rotor has flown off, the cause of why it has flown off will be determined in the court of inquiry. It is not correct for me to speculate at this stage,” Dhanoa said adding that his comments may influence the Court of Inquiry that is already probing the accident.

“Notwithstanding our high intensity of flying, we cannot afford to have accidents and lose valuable life and assets. Our losses during peace time are a cause of concern and we are making concentrated efforts to prevent accidents and preserve our assets,” he added.

Dhanoa, in his speech, also stressed on modernisation, and indigenisation of weapons and equipment with the force, and added that several steps were being taken to augment the strength of the fighter fleet.

He also paid tribute to Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh, who passed away on September 16.

The Air Force Day commemorates the establishment of the armed force on October 8, 1932.

The glittering event at Hindon Air Force Base saw a colourful flypast and display which showcased all leading aircrafts of the IAF, including its latest induction, indigenous fighter Tejas.

The event also saw six Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry), 14 Vayu Sena Medals, and 28 Vishisht Seva Medals being given to Air Force personnel.