(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The Indian Air Force (IAF) is prepared to fight at any time, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, said yesterday.
He also warned of the possibility of a 'short and swift conflict in the present geopolitical scenario.
'Notwithstanding the pace of ongoing acquisition, modernisation, indigenisation efforts and our desire for peace, we are prepared to fight at a short notice should the need arise, Dhanoa said in his address on the occasion of the 85th Air Force Day at the Hindon Air Force base in Ghaziabad.
'It's the duty of each one of us to remain combat worthy, whether on ground or in the air, and also maintain our combat system operational for any contingency at short notice.
The IAF chief said the air force is confident of taking on any threat and is fully prepared to undertake the full spectrum of air operations and respond to any challenge in a befitting manner.
In his message on Air Force Day, published in the booklet that contained citations of those who were awarded gallantry and service medals yesterday, Dhanoa also warned of the possibility of 'short and swift conflicts.
'The uncertainties in the present geopolitical environment may require IAF to act in varied challenging situations. Our foremost responsibility is to protect our country from foreign aggression. The nature of conflict in the present geopolitical environment may require us to fight a short and swift war for which we need to be alert and prepared to fight at short notice, Dhanoa said.
'We also face the daunting challenge of sub-conventional threats on our assets by terrorists. To counter such threats our Coot Camp at Naliya and Young Officers Courses at Bhatinda and procurement of state-of-art equipment have bolstered the security of our bases, he said.
The IAF chief also said losses during peacetime are a cause of concern.
Asked about the Mi-17 V5 chopper crash of Friday in which five IAF and two army personnel were killed, Dhanoa said the tail rotor of the helicopter appeared to have flown off.
'It appears that the tail rotor has flown off, the cause of why it has flown off will be determined in the court of inquiry. It is not correct for me to speculate at this stage, Dhanoa said adding his comments may influence the Court of Inquiry that is already probing the accident.
'Notwithstanding our high intensity of flying, we cannot afford to have accidents and lose valuable life and assets. Our losses during peace time are a cause of concern and we are making concentrated efforts to prevent accidents and preserve our assets, he added.
Dhanoa also stressed on modernisation and indigenisation of weapons and equipment with the force, and added that several steps were being taken to augment the strength of the fighter fleet.
He also paid tribute to Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh, who passed away on September 16.
The Air Force Day commemorates the establishment of the armed force on October 8, 1932.
The glittering event at Hindon Air Force Base saw a colourful flypast and display which showcased all leading aircraft of the IAF, including its latest induction, the indigenous fighter Tejas.
With vertical climbs, loops, turns and more, Tejas left spectators spellbound.
Poor visibility failed to play spoilsport as the indigenous fighter took off right in front of the area where the parade was held, with a vertical climb followed by a loop.
The fighter jet was flown by Group Captain Madhav Rangachari, an ace pilot of the IAF who has been involved with the LCA since its test flights.
The colourful flypast also saw a Surya Kiran Aerobatic team flying in different formations, though they did not carry out vertical manoeuvres due to poor visibility.
The Surya Kiran team, which flies Hawk jets, dedicated their display to Arjan Singh.
The other formations included Sukhoi, Rafale and Hunter.
More colours to the display were added by the Sarang team, with their indigenous Dhruv helicopters painted with peacock feathers.
The other aircraft that flew in the flypast included vintage Tiger Moth and Harvard aircraft, transport aircraft C-130, C-17, Embraer aircraft with AWACS, fighter jets Sukhoi-30, Jaguar and Mirage 2000.