Govt Will Fill Gaps in IAF: DefenceMinister

By Editor 04-Nov-2017

The Government is committed to fill the gaps in the Indian Air Force (IAF) that were the result of lack of timely decision making in the last decade, Defence Minister Smt. Nirmala  Sitharaman has said.

In her inaugural address at the bi-annual conference of IAF Commanders in New Delhi, the Defence Minister also said that the powers given to the Service Chief should be “fully utilised” in achieving required capabilities of the forces.

The three-day-long IAF Commanders Conference took place amid an evolving regional security scenario and growing assertiveness by China in some parts of the Sino-India border.

The Commanders’ Conference was inaugurated by the Defence Minister at AirHeadquarters (Vayu Bhavan). Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, welcomed Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State for Defence Commanders in New Dr. Subhash Bhamre and introduced the IAF Commanders to them.

The CAS briefed the Defence Minister on the current status of the IAF and the initiatives launched in the recent past. During her address, the Defence Minister said that the Air Force, along with Ordnance Factory Board and DRDO, should make an assessment about indigenisation under ‘Make-in-India’ programme. She said that the budgetary allocations should not be viewed as a constraint and should be looked at to acquire what is absolutely necessary. Currently, the IAF has 33 fighter squadrons against the authorised strength of 42 squadrons.

The Chief of the Air Staff while addressing the Commanders emphasized the need for continuous effort and training to maintain IAF’s cutting edge.He also reiterated the IAF’s role as the first responder in most contingencies and thus the need to sustain the ongoing process of capability enhancement making use of the Government’s thrust on ‘Make-in-India’ Initiative.

During the Conference, discussions took place on various subjects that will decide the future trajectory of the Indian Air Force, including operations, maintenance issues and various administrative initiatives that will be taken to enhance the working environment of the IAF keeping in focus IAF’s core principle of ‘People First, Mission Always’.

In consonance with Government of India’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, two mobile Apps for Air Force Cellular Network (AFCEL)phones called ‘MEDWATCH’ and ‘AFCHAT’ were released during the Conference. Various other initiatives like Online Testing & Evaluation and Online Entrance Examination to further the initiative were covered. The new-look Air Force Central Accounts Office (AFCAO) website with enhanced features was also launched. A book titled ‘Aero India - Ascent through the ages’ was released during the conference.

The Union Minister for Defence, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman with the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Air Command, Air Marshal R.K. Dhir, during her visit to the ‘Know Your Air Force’ exhibition, at Nirma University, in Ahmedabad on October 06, 2017