New Delhi: The Indian Air Force has “clearly” demonstrated its resolve, operational capability and will to effectively engage with the adversary whenever the need arises, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said on Thursday, referring to his force’s prompt deployment and combat readiness along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
Speaking during an event at the Hindon air base on the 88th anniversary of the IAF, Bhadauria also assured the nation that the force will evolve and be ever ready to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and interests in all circumstances.
Talking about security challenges in eastern Ladakh, the Chief of Air Staff commended the air warriors for their “prompt response” in the recent standoff on the northern frontiers and talked about rapid deployment of combat assets along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at short notice to handle any eventuality.
“I would like to commend all warriors for the quick response, in the recent stand-off on our northern frontiers, when we deployed our combat assets at short notice to handle any eventuality, and provided proactive support to all the requirements of deployment and sustenance for the Indian Army,” Bhadauria said after inspecting the Air Force Day parade.
“We have clearly demonstrated our resolve, operational capability, and the will to effectively engage the adversary, should the need arise,” he said.
The Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a five-month bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh and the IAF has made significant deployment in the region.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh greeted the IAF on its foundation day and said the government is committed to enhance its combat capability
“The nation is proud of its men and women in blue and salutes the prowess of the IAF as it stands ready to face challenges and deter adversaries. We remain committed to enhancement of IAF’s combat capability through modernisation and indigenisation,” he said.
In his address, the Chief of Air Staff said the evolving threat matrix in the region is becoming complex and it mandates a greater need to have a strong air force to fight across domains and the entire spectrum of warfare.
“The evolving threat matrix in our region is becoming complex, ranging from aspirational adversaries with huge investments in military arsenal, to those collusively supported by non-state actors, apart from growing sub-conventional threats emanating from terrorism and cyber space,” he said.
Bhadauria said disruptive technologies and easy access to low cost options like drones are increasingly demanding greater attention to the sub-conventional domain
The IAF also carried out a spectacular air display at the event showcasing its vintage aircraft and modern fleet including the newly inducted Rafale jets.
In his address, Bhadauria said notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic, the IAF maintained its capacity to undertake full scale operations as it took proactive measures to counter the spread of COVID-19.
“The tenacity and resolve of our air warriors ensured that the IAF continued to retain its capability and capacity to undertake full scale operations, throughout this period,” he said.
Bhadauria also talked about the IAF’s culture and ethos of team work and told the air warriors that “it will help you to overcome temptation, if any, to seek personal glory, while in service or beyond.”
He also called creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff and Department of Military Affair as a “landmark step” towards increasing tri-service effectiveness, coordination and overall combat capabilities of the armed forces.
“We are working proactively towards setting up joint command structures. The formation of air defence command is spearheading the envisaged tri-service commands, and it will further optimise all available air defence resources and supported with a robust decision making structure, and this is at an advanced stage,” he said.
On modernisation of the IAF, he said the vision is to continue to comprehensively scale up the combat capability, and be a force to reckon with across the entire sphere of influence through careful force structuring and acquisition of indigenous equipment.
“The recent induction of state-of-the-art Rafale, Chinook and Apache aircraft have added significantly to our combat capability over our adversaries on the battlefield,” Bhadauria said.
“Our offensive strike capability has been honed further, with upgradation of our aircraft with weapons and sensors, ably supported by a networked decision making matrix,” he added.