The Rs 48,000-crore order from the Indian Air Force (IAF) for 83 light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas would substantially boost the domestic defence industry and promote self-reliance, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday.
Addressing the biannual IAF Commanders’ Conference (AFCC-21) at the Air Headquarters, the Minister termed it as a game-changer from the indigenisation perspective. He urged the Commanders to continue their efforts for achieving even greater results in the field of indigenous defence production and aircraft maintenance.
National security and economic development are complementary aspects of national policy. The IAF’s support for the indigenous industry would result in the development of MSMEs in this field which will simultaneously serve the cause of self-reliance and socio-economic development of the country.
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), welcomed the Defence Minister along with Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and other senior officials from the Ministry.
Rajnath Singh expressed happiness that the conference coincided with the birth anniversary of the Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh.
He congratulated the IAF for ensuring a timely and befitting response to the sudden developments in Eastern Ladakh. He advised the Commanders to draw up long term plans and strategies for capability enhancement to counter future threats. He appreciated the critical focus of IAF towards reorienting for the future.
Speaking about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he lauded the role played by the IAF in assisting other Government agencies in this task.
Referring to the changing international geopolitics, he observed that the perceptible shift of focus from Trans-Atlantic to Trans-Pacific has become more obvious in the recent past. The changing dimensions of war would now include advanced technologies, asymmetric capabilities and info-dominance. The IAF’s preparations for the future must take into account all these aspects.
He stressed the need to continue to work proactively towards the integration process currently underway, implementation of the joint logistics plan and enhance synergy in areas of joint planning and operations.
In his closing remarks, the Minister assured the AF Commanders of the wholehearted support from the Ministry of Defence in achieving the goal of being a potent Strategic Aerospace Force. He expressed confidence that important decisions taken during the conference would enhance the combat potential of the IAF.
The Commanders’ Conference will conclude on April 16. The status of strengthening current combat capabilities and the action plan for making IAF a future-ready combat force would be examined. It will also take up Issues on systems, reforms and restructuring for ensuring more efficient processes across all domains besides optimised operational training, an official said.