The Chinese Air Force is still present on three air bases on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but the Indian Air Force (IAF) is fully deployed and prepared to meet any challenge, IAF new chief, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said today.
Addressing a press conference on the occasion of the 89th anniversary of the IAF, he, however, stated that China’s capability to launch multiple high altitude missions near Ladakh, where the two countries India and China are still locked in a tense military stand-off, would remain weak.
On the possibility of a two-front war because of the partnership between China and Pakistan, he asserted that there was no threat to India’s security. The only worry for India was the possibility of Western technology being passed on by Pakistan to China.
”With regard to airfields in Pakistan and PoK, we don’t need to be much alarmed as they are small strips capable of taking on a few helicopters. The one towards the Afghan border is probably for rescuing their own people from Afghanistan,” the IAF chief said.
He noted that the induction of Rafale and Apaches has significantly added to India’s combat potential. The IAF was in the process of new combat systems to ensure that it retained an edge over its adversaries.
“The induction of Rafale, Apaches have significantly added to our combat potential. Our offensive strike capability has become even more potent with the integration of new weapons on our fleets,” said the IAF chief. With the coming induction of Tejas Mk1A and S 400, the IAF would become even stronger. The IAF now has four squadrons of the MiG-21s and the drawdown would happen in the next 3-4 years.
Chaudhari said the IAF was keen on integration among the armed forces. The joint planning and execution of operations by the three services would result in a maximum increase in India’s net combat capability.
The strength of each force should be taken into account on the theatre command issue, he said, adding that deliberations and discussions were underway on this subject. ”We’re hopeful the ultimate structure that will emerge will cater for jointly planning of operations at all levels.”
On recent drone attacks near Jammu, he said the IAF has been working on indigenous anti-drone capability for a long time. It was encouraging startups to design and develop counter UAS systems. ”We have also hardened our networks to avoid cyber attacks. Adequate safeguards are being taken to protect our critical infrastructure.”
Chaudhari took charge as the air chief from Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on 30 September. An ace fighter pilot, he was earlier in charge of the Ladakh sector during the peak of the crisis with China.