The Air Force is winding up its United Nations peacekeeping operations to focus on domestic duties, including a likely role in supporting the anti-Naxal operations.
IAF Deputy Chief Air Marshal NV Tyagi on Thursday flagged off what could be the Air Force's last UN deployment for now. It sent 285 air warriors to enforce peace in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.
The defence ministry has asked the Ministry of External Affairs not to renew the "letter of assist" India has given for the UN missions in the Congo.
A former IAF chief, however, did not favour pulling out from UN operations.
He said: "It's good if we can carry on UN operations. It puts our aircrews on a rapid learning curve. They imbibe best practices in an international environment."
The IAF has currently assigned four Mi-17 choppers in Maoist zones for ferrying securitymen, carrying out reconnaissance and evacuations.
Deficiency of adequate number of choppers is an impediment. Presently, there are six choppers taking part in the anti-Naxal operations.