At the end of a three-day brainstorming conclave, top commanders of the Indian Air Force on Friday drew up a broad roadmap for next 10 years to significantly enhance the country's aerial prowess to confront emerging threats including from the adversaries on the northern and western fronts, officials said. The IAF commanders held detailed deliberations on the border row with China in eastern Ladakh, key short-term and long-term security challenges facing the nation and on the complex geo-political power play in India's neighbourhood, they said.
In his closing remarks, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria emphasised on the need for rapid capacity building, increase in serviceability of all assets and dedicated work towards effective integration of new technologies in the "shortest timeframes". An IAF spokesperson said the Chief of Air Staff talked about the vision 2030 for the force and laid down milestones for transforming it in the coming decade. He stated that it was important to recognise the nature of emerging threats in a rapidly changing world.
The official said the commanders held a series of discussions and carried out reviews on operational preparedness and strategies for countering security threats envisaged across the entire spectrum. "They discussed the current situation and thereafter carried out a thorough review of the IAF's transformation roadmap for the next decade," spokesperson said.
In his address on the opening day of the conclave, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh complimented the IAF for its rapid deployment of assests at forward locations in responding to the border row with China, saying its Balakot strike and the current combat readiness have sent a strong message to the "adversaries". Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh and Chief of the Army Staff Gen MM Naravane too addressed the conference and interacted with the commanders as well as the principal staff officers (PSOs) at Air headquarters.
The interactions covered a wide range of subjects including ways to ensure of jointness and ensuring integrated war fighting. The spokesperson said the IAF chief underlined the need for work on the IAF's long term goals for building sustainable capability, employment of niche technologies and development of indigenous platforms and weapons.
"The chief stated that since human resource was the most valuable asset of the IAF, recruitment, training and motivation strategies should keep pace with the changing times," he said. Officials said the commanders also deliberate on deployment of first batch of around six Rafale jets in the Ladakh sector by early next month as the aircraft are set to join the IAF's fighter fleet by July 29.
The IAF has been carrying out night time combat air patrols over the eastern Ladakh region in the last few weeks, in an apparent message to China that it was ready to deal with any eventualities in the mountainous region. The IAF has deployed almost all its frontline fighter jets like Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 aircraft in key frontier air bases in eastern Ladakh and elsewhere along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China notwithstanding disengagement of troops by Chinese military from a number of friction points.
The IAF has also deployed Apache attack choppers as well as Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to transport troops to various forward locations The IAF has also pressed into service a fleet of C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft as well as C-130J Super Hercules in transporting heavy military equipment and weaponry to several forward bases in the region.