Sitharaman assures speedy decisions to boost Air Force

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Oct 2017 08:41:41



Govt committed to fill the gaps which have arisen due to lack of timely decision making in the last decade, says Defence Minister 

LACK of timely decision making in the last decade resulted in gaps in the Indian Air Force and the Government is committed to fill them, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday. In an address at the bi-annual conference of IAF commanders, the Defence Minister also said that the powers given to the service chiefs should be“fully utilised” in achieving required capabilities of the forces.

“She said that the Government is committed to fill the gaps which have arisen due to lack of timely decision making in the last decade,” the IAF said in a statement. The three-day-long IAF commanders conference is taking place amid an evolving regional security scenario and growing assertiveness by China in some parts of the Sino-India border. Last week, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa had said IAF is capable of effectively countering any threat from China and Pakistan simultaneously in a two-front war.

Inaugurating the conference, Sitharaman also said that the budgetary allocations “should not be viewed as a constraint and should be looked at to acquire what is absolutely necessary,” the IAF statement said.Currently, the IAF has 33 fighter squadrons against the authorised strength of 42 squadrons.

The IAF has been pressing the Government to expedite acquisition of combat jets to overcome the shortage . Sitharaman said the IAF along with the DRDO and the Ordnance Factor y Board, a State-run defenc e equipment maker, shoul d make anassessment about the possible areas of indigenisationunderthe‘Makein-India’ programme. In his address, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa emphasised the need for continuous effort and training to maintain IAF’s air power, and called for continuing the process to enhance capability of the force .

He also reiterated the IAF’sroleasthefirstresponder in most contingencies and thus the need to sustaintheongoingprocessof capability enhancement making use of the Government’sthrustonthe ‘Make-in-India’ initiative .

The IAF said the conference will deliberate on a raft of issues which will decide the future trajectoryofthe force. It saiddeliberations will take place on operations and maintenance issues. Various administrative initiatives were also expected to be taken at the conclave t o enhance theworking environment ofthe IAF. In sync withtheGovernment’sdigital India initiative, two mobileapplications forAir Force Cellular Networ k (AFCEL)phoneswillalsobe released during the con - ference, the IAF said.