A pair of PLAAF fighter jets fly over the Tibetan Autonomous Region
The newly appointed IAF chief said India was also fully prepared to deal with any two-front war scenario, referring to the danger posed by China and Pakistan
Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari on Tuesday said China had deployed its air force in three bases in Tibet on their side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh and assured that the IAF was fully deployed and prepared for any eventuality.
The newly appointed IAF chief said India was also fully prepared to deal with any two-front war scenario, referring to the danger posed by China and Pakistan along its borders.
His statement comes three days after Indian Army chief General M.M. Naravane had sounded an alert saying that China had deployed troops in considerable numbers all across eastern Ladakh, including forward areas, which was a matter of concern.
“The situation on the Line of Actual Control is that the Chinese Air Force is still present on three air bases on their side of the LAC. We are fully deployed and prepared on our side,” said Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari.
As India faces the threat of two-front aggression from Pakistan and China, the IAF is working with a depleted fleet. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said the sanctioned 42 squadrons won’t be there in the next 10-15 years. “We will not be able to achieve the 42 squadron strength in the next 10-15 years,” he said.
The Indian and Chinese armies have been locked in a border standoff in eastern Ladakh since May last year.
Addressing the media on Tuesday ahead of the 89th anniversary of the IAF on October 8, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said the induction of Rafale and Apache aircraft have significantly added to India’s combat potential.
He said there was an increased presence of the Chinese army across eastern Ladakh as Beijing continues to enhance infrastructure in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
“Increased Chinese army presence across eastern Ladakh continues,” he said.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari also said the S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system would be inducted this year.
The next round of military talks between India and China is likely to take place next week, sources in the defence ministry said.
So far 12 rounds of military talks have taken place between the two armies to resolve the border standoff.