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Defence Minister assures IAF of expediting acquisition of fighter jets

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday assured the Indian Air Force of expediting acquisition of fighter jets and other critical systems as part of its modernisation programme.

In his inaugural address at the IAF's commanders' conference, Jaitley also talked of "uncertainties" in the region as well as on security challenges facing India due to the rapidly-changing geo-political situation.

On the first day of the three-day-long conclave, top IAF commanders brainstormed over various aspects of the country's security challenges and IAF's preparedness to deal with any eventuality.

"He (Jaitley) emphasised the resolve of the government in expediting approved modernisation programmes of the Service," the IAF said in a statement.

The conference will deliberate on a range of critical issues including modernisation of IAF, its futuristic plans and ways to enhance overall capability of the force.

Jaitley also complimented the IAF for having successfully conducted various military exercises and operations towards humanitarian assistance and disaster relief both within and outside the country.

He also acknowledged IAF's capability as the first responder especially in face of a natural calamity, the IAF said.

Chief of Air Staff B S Dhanoa briefed Jaitley on the operational status of IAF and the progress on infrastructure development.

The IAF chief elaborated on initiatives being taken for enhancing operational effectiveness and the future roadmap of IAF.

He also highlighted the efforts made to enhance aircraft serviceability towards maintaining operational readiness of IAF.

During the course of the conference, senior leadership of the IAF would deliberate on issues pertaining to enhancing IAF's combat effectiveness and human resources related issues.

To encourage indigenisation and enhance self-reliance in defence manufacturing, a day long interactive session has been planned with delegations from HAL, BEL and other Defence PSUs.

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