IAF prepared to meet any challenge: Barbora

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Chandigarh, Feb 20 (UNI) Indian Air Force has stepped up its 'sensors' following the poll outcome in Pakistan, Western Air Command's, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Marshal P K Barbora said today.

''Our sensors have been stepped up'', he said when asked if the IAF perceived any misadventure by Pakistan in the wake of election results which are regarded as a vote against President Pervez Musharraf.

''We are prepared to take any threat from anywhere. It makes no difference whether Musharraf loses polls'', he said at a press conference here.

Referring to China, he said ''he did not see any military confrontation between India and China, except that there could be clash of interest on economies''.

''We are joining hands with them on economic and defence exercises'', he added.

Air Marshal Barbora said that IAF was facing shortage of about 1200-odd pilots at present, but hoped that the situation would improve after the Sixth Pay Commission gave its report.

Moreover, Short Service Commission had started in January this year whereby a pilot can leave after serving 14 years.

On IAF pilots preferring jobs outside as commercial pilots, he said he was of the opinion that after using the services of pilots for a reasonable time they should be allowed to seek another job.

To a question, the Air Marshal said that IAF did not have any objection to construction of civil airport enclave in the vicinity of air force base at Chandigarh.

''The IAF is even ready to share its assets and infrastructure with civil aviation authorities as both contribute to the growth of the nation,'' he said.

UNI VKJ JN VD AS1802

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