With an eye on China, IAF ramps its assets in northeast

Fri, Oct 3 10:32 PM

New Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS) The Indian armed forces are matching China's growing military presence in Tibet and its upgrading of infrastructure in the area by ramping up their assets in the northeast, a top military commander said Friday.

Without naming China, the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said that the armed forces were engaged 'in a very comprehensive infrastructure development programme in the northeast that includes roads and air fields'.

Apart from this, a squadron of the IAF's frontline Su-30MKI combat jets would be deployed at an air base in the northeast by next year, Major said while addressing a press conference here ahead of Air Force Day Oct 8.

With their buddy refuelling capability that enables them to stay in the air for extended periods, the Su-30s have the ability to penetrate deep into China.

Overall, Major said, the IAF had embarked on an ambitious plan to upgrade 39 of its airfields by giving them all-weather capabilities and enabling them operate a mix of aircraft.

In this context, he noted that the IAF was rapidly closing the gaps in its radar network by purchasing new equipment across the spectrum to meet low level and top-end requirements.

For instance, an intricate network of military and civilian radars has been synergised to cover the entire southern landmass, Major said.

Speaking about the IAF's modernization plans, the air chief said: 'We are in a peculiar state of transformation and have a long way to go to build the capabilities we desire.'

At the same time, the country would see a 'a capable and a different' IAF a decade from now, he said.

'The IAF's endeavour is to launch on a growth profile, not just through acquisitions of new technology and equipment, but also through the way we operate by refining basic philosophy, doctrines, tactics and our war-fighting ways,' Major maintained.