Rajnath Singh Meets Top IAF Commanders: Praises Them For Rapid Deployment To Forward Locations

In the wake of border tensions between India and China and the ongoing disengagement process in eastern Ladakh, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh met with the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Air Force on Wednesday in New Delhi. Addressing the Inaugural Session of the Air Force Commanders Conference, “commended the IAF for the rapid deployment of assets to forward locations in the face of growing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAKE)”.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, hosted the Minister of Defense and other senior Ministry of Defense officials.

While emphasizing that the swift action has sent a strong message to adversaries, the Minister welcomed the IAF’s proactive response in building up its operational capabilities over the past few months.

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh addressing the inaugural session of the Air
Force Commanders Conference in New Delhi on July 22, 2020. (Credit: Ministry of Defence)

The minister also assured commanders that all requirements of the armed forces will be met.

The IAF has adapted to technological changes and in doing so has embraced new emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, cyber and space domains and nanotechnology.

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh addressing the inaugural session of the Air
Force Commander’s Conference in New Delhi on July 22, 2020. Air Chief
Staff Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Defense Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary,
Department of Defense Production Shri Raj Kumar and Air Force Commanders
are also visible in the photo. (Credit: Ministry of Defence)

What did the air chief say?

He urged commanders to focus on short-term treatment situations and ensure a robust response.

What to expect over the next two days?

During the three-day meeting, as previously reported, IAF commanders are expected to discuss ways to increase IAF presence along the LAC with China.

The three-day meeting also comes shortly after the arrival of the French “Rafale” fighters. Five Rafels out of the 36 ordered by India arrive at the end of the month equipped with the most powerful weapons. And they will be based at Ambala Air Base.

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh and Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria during the inaugural session of the Air Force Commanders Conference in New Delhi on 22 July 2020. (Credit: Ministry of Defence)

When reviewing the nation’s air defense system, commanders will likely discuss the evolving security architecture in the region and how to bolster the service’s combat capability.

IAF message to China

Over the eastern region of Ladakh, the IAF conducted night combat air patrols. And it has deployed 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 fighter jets to combat Chinese aggression. On Tuesday, Indian Navy P8is and MiG-29Ks were also deployed.

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh with Air Force Commanders during the Air Force Commanders Conference in New Delhi on July 22, 2020. (L to R) Air Marshal Rajesh Kumar, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Central Air Command; Shri Raj Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Defense
Production; Defense Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar; Shri Rajnath Singh; Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of Air Staff; Air Marshal HS Arora, Vice Chief of Air Staff; Air Marshal B Suresh Kumar, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command.
(Standing left to right) Air Marshal Shashiker Choudhary, Commander-in-Chief Air Officer, Maintenance Command; Air Marshal AS Butola, Commander-in-Chief Air Officer, Training Command; Air Marshal NJS Dhillon, Commander-in-Chief of Strategic Forces Command; Air Marshal RD Mathur, Air
Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command; Air Marshal SK Ghotia, Commander-in-Chief Air Officer, Southwestern Air Command and Air Marshal Amit Tiwari, Commander-in-Chief Air Officer, Southern Air Command. (Credit: Ministry of Defence)

Last week, during a joint Indian Army-IAF exercise attended by the Minister of Defense in Ladakh, the Apache attack helicopters along with the fleet of Chinook heavy lift helicopters, C-17 Globemaster III and C-130J Super Hercules transport planes were all given away.

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