IAF Chief talks China, two-front war and hints on procurement of more Rafale

NewsBharati    06-Oct-2020
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New Delhi, Oct 6: Addressing the annual Air Force Day press conference, the Indian Air Force (IAF) Marshal RKS Bhadauria sent a tough message to China saying that, "We are very well positioned and there is no question that in any conflict scenario there, China can never get the better of us". He said in any case if there is any possible conflict, IAF is ready for a two-front war with China and Pakistan.
 
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"We are very well positioned and there is no question that in any conflict scenario there, China can never get the better of us," he stated when asked if India has an edge over China in terms of Air Force in Ladakh. Referring to deployment in Ladakh, IAF chief said that the force is deployed at all relevant operational locations. "We are deployed at all relevant operational locations, required to access this area. Be rest assured that we have deployed strongly and firmly to handle any contingency," said Bhadauria answering a query about the deployment of Air Force in Ladakh during the standoff with China.
 
"We are aware that China and Pakistan are cooperating closely, and Pakistan now is increasingly dependent on China for their defence supplies, and they are doing a lot of exercises together… this activity, in terms of their bilateral exercise, is on the increase." But, he said, "it is not to say there is a sign that it is a collusive threat… we are deployed for a two-front war". He said, "there is no such indication” and India is "observing all the activities across." He also noted that "the emerging threat scenario in our neighbourhood and beyond mandates a need to have a robust capability to fight across the entire spectrum of warfare. Let me share with you confidently that operationally, we are among the best," the Air Chief said.
 
Speaking about the integration of Rafales, he said, "The integration of Rafales brings in a platform armed with weapons, sensors and technologies that were way ahead and will give us an operational and technological edge in this area. Combined with upgraded operational capabilities of our current fighter fleets that is underway, it gives us the ability to shoot first, and strike deep and hard, even in contested air space. IAF is working proactively to enhance integration and operability amongst the three services which will boost our war-waging potential."
 
Further, he said, "Our plan of action for the Northeast is very much there. Our capability in the Northeast, in terms of the ability of airpower to dictate what will happen in case of any scenario or conflict in that situation, would be very strong."
 
Bhaduria also informed about the scenario over the next three months in eastern Ladakh, the Air Chief said it depends on how the talks progress. "We hope that the talks will progress along the lines that are expected. Current progress is slow, what we see is an increase in the effort to dig-in for winter, in terms of forces on the ground, in terms of deployment of air assets in airfields close by. Defence forces see the ground reality. Our further action will depend on ground realities," he added.
 
"Our position as a credible combat-ready force is vital, given the role Air Force will play towards ensuring victory in any future conflict. The emerging threat scenario in our neighbourhood and beyond mandates us to have a robust capability to fight across the entire spectrum of warfare," the IAF chief said. "We have operationalised Rafales, Chinooks, Apache and integrated them with our concept of operations in record time. In the next three years we will see Rafale and LCA Mark 1 squadrons operating with full strength, along with additional MiG-29 being ordered in addition to current fleets," the IAF chief said.
 
"Our vision is to continue to scale up our combat capability and credibility as a force to reckon through modernisation and operational training and substantially increase indigenous equipment to achieve self-reliance and strategic autonomy," he added. He said IAF has placed its trust in Light Combat Aircraft and in the next five years it will commence induction of 83 LCA Mark 1As.
 
The Air Chief also noted that there has been no coordination with the US forces in relation to border tensions with China, Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria on Monday asserted that India has to fight its wars on its own and cannot count on others for this. "American deployments are done as per their perspective. We don't plan our efforts with support from someone else. They have not been deployed in coordination with us. We have to fight our own wars. No one will fight our wars for us. We have to do it ourselves," he said.
 
On the possibility of the Indian Air Force buying the second batch of 36 more Rafale fighter aircraft, the Air Chief said it was a complex subject and "various options" were being deliberated upon in the Force."Whether we go in for more Rafale or MRFA, it will be an open competition...The current status is that we have received all the RFIs (for the MRFA programme). All these issues are on the table now in terms of taking a final call...There are various issues that need to be considered," he said.
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