‘Need to be prepared to respond on short notice,’ says Rajnath at IAF commanders’ conference

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday exhorted the country’s armed forces to be prepared to respond at short notice for “any contingency” and reiterated the importance of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in future conflicts.

Addressing the opening day of the Air Force Commanders’ Conference here, Rajnath said the IAF needs to harness capabilities offered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data and machine learning.

The second leg of the biannual conference of IAF brass and is scheduled to conclude on November 12. Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar were among the senior officers at the meet.

According to an IAF statement, Singh appreciated the force for “maintaining a high level of preparedness, ability to respond on a short notice and displaying high standards of professionalism in carrying out operational and peace time tasks.”

“He also mentioned that the efforts in the field of indigenization through ‘Make in India’ initiative of Govt of India is showing results and the orders of LCA Mk-1A and C-295 will open new opportunities in the indigenous aerospace sector,” the statement added.

Speaking on the issue of theatre commands, Singh said “enhancing jointness is essential and the structure should be evolved after closely examining various options, and inputs from all stakeholders would be taken into consideration”. His comments come amid reservations of the Air Force in the current structures for the joint theatre commands that are being discussed.

During his address, IAF chief Chaudhari emphasised on the need to develop a “multi-domain capability in order to give a swift and befitting response to any misadventures by our adversaries” and on the “need for joint training with the Indian Army and Indian Navy to enable synergised application of combat power in future conflicts”. He also complimented the top commanders “for maintaining a high state of readiness despite challenges posed by the pandemic”.

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