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Need to enhance IAF's capability to take on adversaries: Air Chief

Thursday, September 13, 2018

New Delhi:  Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said Wednesday that China was significantly ramping up its air power including deploying fighter jets in Tibet and India must modernise its air force to match the capabilities of its "adversaries".

India was facing a unique situation of having two nuclear armed neighbours -- China and Pakistan -- on its borders and the intentions of the adversaries could change overnight, he said.

Delivering a lecture on IAF's force structure, he said the capability of the force needs to be enhanced in sync with security challenges facing the nation.

"China has approximately 1,700 fighter aircraft of which 800 are fourth generation jets. A large number of these can be expected to be brought against us in the Tibet Autonomous Region in case of hostilities," he said addressing a seminar.

The IAF chief said though India was facing a grave security threat, its combat squadron has come down to 31 from sanctioned strength of 42 which is a matter of concern. Each fighter squadron has 16-18 aircraft.

"Indian armed forces are operating in a unique environment. Presently, there are very few countries which are facing security challenges as grave as ours," he said, referring to threats from Pakistan and China.

"India's neighbours are not sitting idle.... We have a unique situation of having two nuclear armed neighbours on our borders. No other country in the world has this kind of a situation," he said.

The Air Chief Marshal said China has significantly developed and upgraded infrastructure in Tibet Autonomous Region and that fighter jets and surveillance jets have been permanently stationed in airfields in the area bordering India.

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