Its capabilities will match India's stature, aspirations and threat perceptions

Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday said the government is taking a series of steps to develop the Indian Air Force (IAF) into a "dominant aerospace power."

Addressing the first meeting of the Consultative Committee of Members of Parliament attached to his Ministry, Mr. Antony said the steps include enhancing significantly the strategic reach of the IAF and integrating potent capabilities in terms of space-based assets and air defence, surveillance, modern aircraft and advanced weapon systems, an official release said.

Mr. Antony said the government's endeavours are aimed at seeing that the IAF's capabilities are in consonance with India's stature, aspirations and threat perceptions. "We also need to conceptualise and build asymmetric capabilities against superior forces."

Referring to the perspective plans of the Armed Forces, he said the gestation period for the induction of new equipment is long and, therefore, there must be clarity in our strategic assessments and projection of requirements. "We need to hasten our procurements to prevent voids in defence preparedness".

The Defence Minister said efforts were being made in the Ministry of Defence and its various wings to ensure that the country reaches the level of developed countries in defence technologies without going through all the intermediate steps. He informed the IAF is in the process of considerable transformation and modernisation and gave account of the various projects.

Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal P.K. Barbora gave a detailed account of various measures being taken by the Air Force to spread its assets across the country, as also to keep the morale of air warriors high.

However, some MPs felt disappointed that the briefing did not relate to the current security scenario and challenges in the region. "Much of the information is already available in public domain and on the IAF website. It was disappointing." an MP told The-Hindu on condition of anonymity.

The MP was of the view that the opportunity could have been utilised to sensitise MPs who have opted to be on the consultative committee on developments in the region, country-specific assessments and preparations of the IAF.

Many of them wanted to know the roadmap the IAF is following in the next 10-20 years to meet security challenges. Some members expressed concern over corruption in acquisition of the Ministry and under-utilisation of funds earmarked for capital acquisition.

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