Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asked the Indian Air Force’s top brass to draw long-term plans and strategies for capability enhancement to counter future threats. Addressing top officials at the biannual IAF Commanders’ Conference, Singh congratulated the air force for its “timely and befitting response” to the developments in eastern Ladakh, an official statement said.
He appreciated the IAF’s focus on reorienting for the future.
“Changing dimensions of war would now include advanced technologies, asymmetric capabilities and info-dominance, and it was very important that the IAF’s preparations for the future must include these aspects,” the statement quoted Singh as saying.
The minister stressed on the need to work towards the integration of the armed forces and to enhance synergy in areas of joint planning and operations.
The conference comes at a time India is planning to begin a formal roll-out of its long-awaited theaterisation plan to best utilise its military’s resources amid growing security threats, with the Air Defence Command and the Maritime Theatre Command set to be launched by May.
The conference is focusing on strategies to scale up the IAF’s capabilities to have an edge over its adversaries, as previously reported by Hindustan Times.
It comes at a time when the IAF is gearing up to raise its second squadron of Rafale fighter jets at the Hasimara airbase in West Bengal.
As India and China negotiate a complex disengagement process in the Ladakh sector, the air forces of both countries are deployed in the theatre as they were when the border row was at its peak last year. India and China have held 11 rounds of military talks so far to resolve border tensions that began last May.
At the latest 11th round of military talks with China on April 9, the Indian Army told the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that completion of disengagement at all friction points was a must for de-escalation of the border conflict.
Apart from deploying fighter jets at bases in the Ladakh-Tibet theatre, PLA Air Force has positioned a large number of radars and missiles in the sector.
IAF has projected its capability to carry out day-and-night, all-weather combat missions in the Ladakh sector, with front-line fighter jets, attack helicopters and multi-mission choppers deployed there. It also deployed its new Rafale fighter jets in the sector as part of India’s overarching plan to strengthen its military posture in the region.