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No scramble in eastern skies in last three years: Air Force

SHILLONG (PTI): Amid frequent reports of Chinese "intrusions" in north-east, the Indian Air Force today said there had been no scramble in the eastern skies in recent times.

"There has been no scramble in the eastern skies in the last three years," Air Chief Marshal FH Major told reporters here.

Stating that the Indian Air Force was aware of the military progress made by China, Major said, "every sovereign state has a right to acquire weapons. Acquisition and progress made by China and Bangladesh is not a cause of worry for us."

"We are also building our capability. The Air Force is upgrading all its Air Lift Groups (ALGs) in the north-east and in the next 5-7 years the IAF will have a totally different look," he said.

When asked whether the IAF up-gradation is based on a threat perception from neighbouring countries, the Major said, "the up-gradation is out of intent." Mentioning about the defence acquirements in the northeast Major said the deployment of the Sukhoi multi-role combat jets at Tezpur air base would be completed by next year.

The first squadron of Su-30 MKIs is expected to be in place at Tezpur by next year.

The Air chief also said the recent Red Flag exercise with US Air Force helped the IAF improve on its concepts, training patterns, maintenance and flying practices.

"The exercise was a tremendous boost to the IAF pilots," he said.

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