Amid tensions with China in eastern Ladakh, Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria on Monday said the Chinese would never be able to defeat India in a battle along the northern borders.
“In the ongoing standoff in the north, there is no way they (Chinese) can defeat us,” the IAF Chief said during his annual Air Force Day press conference.
Referring to deployment in Ladakh, IAF chief said that the force is deployed at all relevant operational locations.
“We are deployed at all relevant operational locations, required to access this area. Be rest assured that we have deployed strongly and firmly to handle any contingency,” said Bhadauria answering a query about the deployment of Air Force in Ladakh during the standoff with China.
“We are very well positioned and there is no question that in any conflict scenario there, China can never get the better of us,” he stated when asked if India has an edge over China in terms of Air Force in Ladakh.
Asked about the scenario over the next three months in eastern Ladakh, the Air Chief said it depends on how the talks progress.
“We hope that the talks will progress along the lines that are expected. Current progress is slow, what we see is an increase in the effort to dig-in for winter, in terms of forces on the ground, in terms of deployment of air assets in airfields close by. Defence forces see the ground reality. Our further action will depend on ground realities,” he added.
India and China have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks for disengagement and eventual de-escalation in eastern Ladakh.
Asked how strong IAF is in the northeast, the Air Chief said, “Our plan of action for the northeast is very much there. Our capability in the northeast, in terms of the ability of airpower to dictate what will happen in case of any scenario or conflict would be very strong.”
“Our position as a credible combat-ready force is vital, given the role Air Force will play towards ensuring victory in any future conflict. The emerging threat scenario in our neighbourhood and beyond mandates us to have a robust capability to fight across the entire spectrum of warfare,” the IAF chief said.
“I can tell you with confidence that operationally, we are amongst the best,” he added.
Bhadauria also mentioned that the integration of Rafales has given the IAF an operational and technological edge which would enable it ‘shoot first and strike deep and hard’.
“We have operationalised Rafales, Chinooks, Apache and integrated them with our concept of operations in record time. In the next three years we will see Rafale and LCA Mark 1 squadrons operating with full strength, along with additional MiG-29 being ordered in addition to current fleets,” the IAF chief said.
“Our vision is to continue to scale up our combat capability and credibility as a force to reckon through modernisation and operational training and substantially increase indigenous equipment to achieve self-reliance and strategic autonomy,” he added.
He said IAF has placed its trust in Light Combat Aircraft and in the next five years it will commence induction of 83 LCA Mark 1As.