Security scenario in eastern Ladakh at ‘uneasy no war no peace’ status: IAF chief
The present security scenario along India’s northern frontier is at an “uneasy no war no peace” status, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said on Tuesday, referring to the festering border row with China in eastern Ladakh.
Addressing a conference, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria also said the Indian Air Force has responded to the situation with rapidity and is fully resolved to counter any “misadventure” in the region.
“The present security scenario along our northern frontiers is at an uneasy no war no peace status. Our defence forces are prepared for any eventuality as you are aware,” the Chief of Air Staff said.
The IAF is looking at inducting around 450 aircraft and helicopters in the next two decades, besides upgrading at least 200-300 planes during this period, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said.
He also said the recent induction of Rafale fighter jets along with previous acquisitions of C-17 Globemaster aircraft as well as Chinook and Apache helicopters have provided the IAF with substantial tactical and strategic capability enhancement.
“Air power will be a crucial enabler in our victory in any future conflict. It is therefore imperative that IAF obtains and maintains technological edge over our adversaries,” he said at the conference on energising the Indian aerospace industry.
Five French-made multirole Rafale fighter jets were inducted into the IAF on September 10. The fleet has been carrying out sorties in eastern Ladakh in the last couple of weeks.
The IAF has already deployed almost all its frontline fighter jets like Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 aircraft in the key frontier air bases in eastern Ladakh and elsewhere along the Line of Actual Control.
The IAF has also been carrying out night time combat air patrols over the eastern Ladakh region in an apparent message to China that it was ready to deal with any eventualities in the mountainous region. The IAF Chief said the raising of two squadrons of light combat aircraft Tejas and integration of some indigenous weapons on the Su-30 MKI combat jets in a very reduced time frame have been the “most promising” development, reflecting the country’s capabilities to develop indigenous military hardware.
The Chief of Air Staff also strongly backed indigenous development of a fifth generation aircraft.
“We strongly support indigenous development of a fifth generation aircraft. We need to have a single point agenda to have a fifth generation aircraft with sixth generation technology,” said Bhadauria, while congratulating all the stakeholders in development of the light combat aircraft Tejas.
He also complimented the Defence Research and Development Organisation for its airborne early warning and control system Netra, calling it a pathbreaking achievement.
Bhadauria also asked the DRDOs and defence public sector undertakings to include the private sector in key projects and treat them as their own.
“Overall, we are looking at 450 aircraft orders. It will include the helicopter fleet,” Bhadauria said.
“There cannot be a better time to energise the aerospace sector and there cannot be a better opportunity...IAF is ready to be an engine of growth for the aerospace industry, you have to be ready to provide the requirement and get on board with confidence and determination,” he said.