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Aero India 2023

IAF must be one of best, if not best by time it completes 100 years in 2032: Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari


Air Force personnel during the 91st Air Force Day celebrations, at Bamrauli headquarters of Central Air Command, in Prayagraj, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. A PTI Photo

PRAYAGRAJ (PTI): The Indian Air Force must remain ever vigilant in the face of "new and emerging threats", Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari has said even as he asserted that the IAF will continue to protect the nation's territory and deter potential adversaries, in comments that came amid the eastern Ladakh border row.

In the current complex and dynamic strategic environment, refining the IAF's strategy, building robust capabilities and developing a flexible mindset to "prosecute future wars" will prove decisive, the Chief of Air Staff said.

In an address to air warriors on the occasion of Air Force Day on Sunday, he said joint planning and integrated application of combat power will be the "sine-qua-non" of future wars and added, "we must reform, or become a relic; we must innovate, else become mundane and we must transform, else become irrelevant."

"If India is on the path to become a developed nation by 2047, then the IAF must be one of the best, if not the best, by the time we complete 100 years in 2032," he said, highlighting the importance of air power in the changing global security matrix.

The Indian Air Force was officially established on October 8, 1932.

The IAF Chief said, "We need to understand the nuances of evolving air power, setting the pace to preserve peace and if and when necessary, to fight and win wars."

"First and foremost, I would like to urge you to strive for excellence in everything you do. This is non-negotiable," he asserted.

The Air Chief Marshal also batted for "candidly" assessing the IAF and address any inhibitions to change.

"The force structure that we need to develop must be future ready. Joint planning and integrated application of combat power will be the sine-qua-non of future wars," he said

Without referring to specifics, the IAF Chief, talking about the last one year, said the force has not only "circumvented" challenges but turned them into opportunities, adding the current geopolitical landscape has provided it an opportunity to reduce dependency on imports by developing indigenous capability.

"In this complex and dynamic strategic environment, refining our strategy, building robust all round capabilities and more importantly, developing a flexible mindset to prosecute future wars will prove decisive," he said.

"In our quest for becoming an air and space force, we must recognise the importance of the space domain and continue developing our space capabilities," he said.

The Air Chief Marshal also highlighted the need for the IAF to become an "agile and adaptable air force that provides decisive aerospace power in furtherance of our national interests."

"The world is changing at a rapid pace and we must meet all new challenges coming our way. We must continue to foster a culture of discipline, integrity and remain ever vigilant in the face of emerging threats," he said.

"Our commitment to the defence of our nation remains steadfast and we will continue to protect our territory, deter potential adversaries and ensure the safety and security of our people."

Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said the IAF is not just a military force but also a symbol of India's collective strength and determination.

"The last one year had brought its fair share of challenges our way. I am happy to note that the IAF has performed exceedingly well and passed every test with flying colours," he said.

On the IAF's vision as laid down in its doctrine, the Air Chief Marshal said it is to be "an agile and adaptable air force that provides decisive aerospace power in furtherance of our national interests."

"From multi-domain operations to hybrid warfare, the air force needs to recognise that modern warfare transcends traditional boundaries. We must seamlessly integrate air, space, cyber and ground capabilities to dominate the battle space," he said.

"The question we must ask ourselves is, 'what more can I do'? Do not limit yourselves to the needs of today. Think beyond today and you will realise that there is so much more to be done," he said.

The IAF Chief said innovation must become a part of IAF's DNA, enabling it to easily adapt to emerging threats and challenges.

"There is a need for us to candidly assess ourselves and address any inhibitions to change. The force structure that we need to develop must be future ready. Joint planning and integrated application of combat power will be the sine-qua-non of future wars," he said.

"Developing unique tactics, carrying out realistic training and incorporating relevant lessons learnt will go a long way," he added.

On Angiveers, the Chief of Air Staff said, "We have successfully inducted the first batch of Agniveers and subsequent batches, including women Agniveers, are presently undergoing basic training.

The rigour of training has been increased across the board for all training curriculums with more emphasis on self-learning and self-education, he noted.

Detailing the exercises carried out by the IAF, he said, "In this year alone, the IAF has carried out eight exercises across the globe with friendly foreign countries and performed exceptionally well.

"For the first time our indigenously built LCAs (light combat aircrafts) have participated in an overseas exercise, showcasing our professional acumen and enhancing our stature as a potent Air Force. IAF carried out extensive operations in Turkiye, Sudan and Syria airlifting critical supplies and rescuing stranded Indian nationals. As first responders, we have always maintained a high state of alert and taken on all emerging situations," he said.

The Air Force Day parade was held in Prayagraj.

The parade was traditionally held at the Hindon airbase near Delhi till 2021 before the event was taken outside the national capital. It was held in Chandigarh last year.

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