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Focus on strengthening India's air defence systems: Rajnath to top IAF commanders

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane, Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and others during the Indian Air Force Commanders' Conference, in New Delhi, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has asked the top commanders of the Indian Air Force to examine the rapidly changing global geo-political situation and assess them in the Indian context besides emphasising on the need to bolster its operational readiness.

In an address at the inaugural session of the two-day IAF commanders' conference on Thursday, Singh also exhorted the top brass of the force to focus on strengthening India's air defence systems and use of drones, noting that new trends have emerged in the field of air warfare.

It is learnt that the commanders are extensively analysing use of various aerial platforms in the Hamas-Israel conflict and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Chief of Air staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and other commanders are also carrying out a comprehensive review of the security situation along the border with China, especially rapid expansion of military infrastructure by the PLA Air Force in areas near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh sector.

"There are new challenges emanating from the global security scenario. We must always be ready to deal with them," Singh told the commanders at the conference here.

In his address, Singh emphasised on the need to enhance operational preparedness and highlighted the importance of joint planning and execution of operations by the three services.

The defence ministry said he urged the IAF commanders to examine the rapidly changing global geo-political situation and assess them in the Indian context.

He pointed out that new trends have emerged in the field of air warfare and there is a need to analyse and learn from them to strengthen the defence preparedness.

The defence minister also exhorted the IAF to focus on strengthening the air defence systems, use of drones and making headway in the field of aerospace to protect India's air domain, the ministry said.

It said Singh praised the "stellar role" played by the IAF during the recent humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions in Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and other flood affected areas.

He also congratulated the IAF for successfully organising the Air Force Day parade and air display in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj.

Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan was among those present on the occasion.

The commanders will hold wide-ranging deliberations on the IAF's plans for the future with an aim to bolster its combat capabilities, sources said.

They are especially expected to hold extensive deliberations on use of new technologies.

The conference, which is held bi-annually, involves discussions on charting the lAF's way ahead, given the current geo-political environment and technological imperatives.

Eminent national security experts and accomplished personalities from various fields are invited to present their views during the conference.

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