China has improved its air operations: Air Chief

Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria. File   | Photo Credit: G. Ramakrishna

Since the disengagement in Eastern Ladakh in February, there had been a kind of status quo on the ground but China has strengthened its infrastructure and improved the efficiency of its air operations, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal (ACM) R.K.S. Bhadauria said on Friday.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat said both the nations understood that returning to the status quo was in their best interest for ensuring peace and tranquillity.

Responding to questions on the proposed integrated theatre commands, ACM Bhadauria said the IAF was “fully committed” to integration and theatre commands. “We must get it right.”

Earlier, responding to questions on the theatre commands and reports of certain reservations on the part of the IAF, Gen. Rawat said that while the Air Force had an air defence charter, it was also required to provide support to the ground forces.

“Do not forget that the Air Force continues to remain a supporting arm of the armed forces, just as the artillery or engineers support the combatants within the Army. They have an air defence charter and support the ground forces in time of operations,” he pointed out. This was the basic charter they have to understand, he stated.

ACM Bhadauria said, “It is not a supporting role alone. The air power has a huge role to play in any of the integrated battle role...”

Gen. Rawat noted that the proposed theatre commands comprised an air defence command, a maritime theatre command and two-land based commands on the West and North. However, the Army’s Northern Command, which overlooked both China and Pakistan, would be left as it was for now.

China covering deficiencies

ACM Bhadauria said China had spent a lot of energy building infrastructure at many of their airfields, which he termed “defensive” in nature because they have analysed as to “what all can be hit by us quickly” if the situation required.

“The other issue is they are looking at covering deficiencies wherever they are. Apart from infrastructure, in terms of training and other issues, they have done other methods to bring in efficiencies in air operations,” he observed.

They were monitoring the situation closely and had taken across the board actions “We are much more capable than we were one year back. It’s not that we have maintained status quo on our capability,” he stressed.

Responding to questions on the situation in Ladakh, Gen. Rawat cautioned not to take things lightly. “We must be prepared for any misadventure and respond accordingly. We have responded in the past and will do so in the future,” he asserted.

He said the ongoing talks at various levels for disengagement and de-escalation would take time. “I think in a gradual manner, we should be able to achieve the status quo, because if you do not achieve the status quo and remain in this kind of a position, it could lead to misadventure at some time. Therefore, both the nations understand that returning to the status quo is in the best interest of ensuring peace and tranquillity to which our nation is committed,” he added.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 7:41:22 AM |

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