The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, on Tuesday said India was not worried over reports of Pakistan's growing nuclear arsenal.

Though India has a doctrine of no first use, a retaliatory strike by it would be both “heavy and hard,” he asserted.

“Our nuclear policy is of no first use [of nuclear weapons] and not against non-nuclear weapons state…it also talks of a heavy response in case of a nuclear attack on our soil…very hard retaliation,” the Air Chief said during his farewell media interaction here.

‘No game changer'

Air Chief Marshal Naik was responding to a question whether the recent test of Nasr nuclear-weapons capable tactical missile by Pakistan was a “game-changer.”

He said he neither viewed the short-range missile as a game changer in strategic or tactical terms nor worried over reports that Pakistan was stock-piling nuclear weapons.

Pakistan's plans

Reports had said Islamabad plans to add two dozen nuclear-weapons capable short-range missiles that can hit major Indian cities.

Air Chief Marshal Naik, who hands over charge to Air Marshal N.A.K. Browne on July 31, expressed satisfaction at the growth trajectory of the IAF.

The Air Force in the next few years would have to prepare and train its personnel to absorb modern technology.

On the northeast front, he said work to modernise the advanced landing grounds (ALG) at Pasighat, Along and Menchuka and airfields at Chabua, Tezpur, Mohanbari, Jorhat and Hashimaraup would begin soon. The move was part of the IAF's plan to shore up its defence along the border with China.

On purchase of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, he said the IAF did not have any favourites from among Eurofighter Typhoon and French Rafale, down selected in May. The contract would go to the manufacturer with lowest bid when the commercial offers are opened in about five to six weeks time.

Training of pilots

To overcome the handicap of basic training of pilots affected by problems with HPT32 Deepak, the IAF had selected Swiss Pilatus. Negotiations would begin to procure 75 aircraft.

On the Chief of the Defence Staff issue, the Air Chief said he did not favour such a post unless the person became a single-point military adviser to the government. In any case, such a post would require advanced technological inputs that were still being put in place.

Reaffirming India's ability to carry out an Abbottabad-type operation, he said: “we have the capability of conducting similar operation but not that.”

The Air Chief was responding to question on the U.S. Special Forces eliminating Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May.

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