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India's aircraft strength inadequate: IAF chief

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Air Chief Marshal PV Naik addresses a press conference at South Western Air Command headquarters near Ahmedabad on Wednesday. Image credit: PTI

GANDHINAGAR (PTI): IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said the country's air force was inadequate and just one-third the size of China's and therefore was going in for more acquisitions to enhance its capability.

Naik also downplayed reports of Chinese air incursions along the Line of Actual Control(LAC). "As far as Air Force is concerned there are no incursions anywhere (across Indian border)," he said on Wednesday.

"Our present aircraft strength is inadequate. We have one third of the Chinese numbers. And that is why we are going for more," Naik said echoing the just retired naval chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta's concern that the country neither has the capability nor the intention to match China force for force.

"The government of India is doing a lot to augment air force capability," Naik told reporters at the South Western Air Command (SWAC) headquarters here.

The air chief's comments come against the backdrop of media reports about Chinese army and air "incursions" into India in the past several weeks.

"We are not downplaying the challenges before us. But there is a strategy to handle it. One can either deal with it sternly or play cool and continue to develop capabilities," Naik said.

Naik further said that "the government is giving full support as far as the acquisition of these things are concerned in terms of finance or otherwise."

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