– IAF “Our neighbourhood is dangerous,” the Chief of the Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal R Nambiar, said in Shillong on Friday, adding that India has therefore acquired enough deterrence to thwart any “mischief”.
Air Marshal Nambiar was apparently pointing towards China which has territorial ambitions not just within India, but also in the Indo-Pacific region. Pakistan, an all-weather ally of China, is another country which has remained unfriendly with territorial ambitions.
The Eastern Air Command Chief said that unlike other countries, India did not possess its deterrence with any territorial ambitions, but to “protect the country’s territorial boundaries”.
Air Marshal Nambiar, who flew the Rafale aircraft recently and was part of the Indian delegation during negotiations with Russia to procure the S-400 Triumf Air Defence Missile System, said the new acquisitions would give India an edge to protect its territory.
“The Triumf system will be in India within the next 23 months,” he said.
China has already procured the Triumf missiles system from Russia.
Apart from Triumf, India is also developing its own air defence missiles system known as Programme Air Defence I and II which, Air Marshal Nambiar said, is an advanced and totally indigenous system. It is being built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and is at an advanced stage of deployment.
The Eastern Air Command Chief further stated that the Rafale aircraft that India is procuring is superior in terms of performance to China’s fourth and fifth generation fighter aircraft like the recently tested Chengdu J-20 stealth multi-role fighter.
Cash-strapped Pakistan has acquired China’s fourth generation aircraft and there are already multiple issues with these fighter planes in terms of performance.
Air Marshal Nambiar said that the Indian Air Force has developed capabilities to bring together its personnel from 20 per cent to 80 per cent within 48 hours to any particular location of the country.
“Moreover we are geographically blessed as most of our airfields are at lower altitudes from the sea level unlike China. This means our aircraft can carry heavier payload from our airfields,” he pointed out.