The Indian Air Force has increased its capabilities and preparedness, says chief Naik

Although China was a step ahead of India in its defence prowess, India had built up its own capabilities and the country would not see a repeat of the 1962 Indo-China war, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik told a press conference at the Maintenance Command Headquarters here on Monday. He responded to a host of questions on China's growing “assertiveness” and India's preparedness.

“Ten years ago, our country did not have money. Now with economic growth, money is not a problem. India started [upgrading] its capabilities five or six years ago. China started before that. They have a lead over us. Our aim is to prevent a repeat of 1962. With the capabilities that we have built up and are in the process of building, a repeat of 1962 can never happen,” the Air Chief Marshal said.

When asked, he said he did not think the Chinese would attack in the near future. He said China was a sovereign country and all India could do was to strengthen its own capacities.

The situation that was 20 years ago remained the same; the Indian Air Force (IAF) had taken measures to increase its capabilities in the East as well as the North, Air Chief Marshal Naik said.

“Anything that interferes with the country's development and aspirations is a threat — whether distant or close. If you go threat by threat, it's a no-win situation and you land up in an arms race. We know the aspirations of our country and where it is heading. We have to build capabilities accordingly. We have prepared a long-term integrated perspective plan, which at the moment is up to 2027,” he said.

As part of the upgradation, the IAF is bringing in trainer aircraft from the United States, Korea, Switzerland, Poland and Russia. Asked about the concerns over America's supply of the same to Pakistan, the Air Chief Marshal said, “We have expressed our concerns and the Americans have appreciated them. We are also getting [aircraft] from Russia and Europe. So, we have not put all our eggs in one basket.”

The Air Chief Marshal said there was a need to speed up the procurement procedures. Air Chief Marshal Naik said although the IAF was not involved in the Adarsh housing scam, its image had suffered.

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