New Delhi, Nov.16 (ANI): Defence Minister A K Antony on Monday said the UPA Government is committed to developing the Indian Air Force into a dominant aerospace power.
Addressing the first meeting of the newly constituted Consultative Committee of Members of Parliament attached to his ministry, Antony said the steps include enhancing the strategic reach of the IAF and integrating potent capabilities in terms of space-based assets and air defence, surveillance, modern aircraft and advanced weapon systems.
He said the government's endeavours are aimed at seeing that the IAF's capabilities are in consonance with India's stature, aspirations and threat perceptions.
"We also need to conceptualise and build asymmetric capabilities against superior forces", he said.
Referring to the perspective plans of the Armed Forces, Antony said the gestation period for induction of new equipment is long, and therefore, there must be clarity in our strategic assessments and projection of requirements.
"We need to hasten our procurements to prevent voids in defence preparedness," he added.
He said efforts are also being made to ensure that the country reaches the level of developed countries in defence technologies without going through all the intermediate steps.
"In our drive for modernisation and in execution of our daily tasks, we must be ever mindful of economy and avoid waste or duplication. We must lend our shoulders to indigenisation and think of ways in which we can reach the level of advanced states without necessarily following all the intermediate steps," he said.
Antony informed the members that the IAF is in the process of considerable transformation and modernisation.
Giving an account of various projects, he said the Hawk AJT has already been inducted into the Air Force, the intergovernmental agreements on the Fifth General Fighter Aircraft and Multi-role Transport Aircraft have been inked and the evaluation process for the selection of 126 Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft is on.
Cutting across party lines, Members of Parliament commended the role of Indian Air Force over the years in not only protecting the country, but in also providing humanitarian relief during natural disasters.
Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal P K Barbora gave a detailed account of various measures being taken by the Air Force to spread its assets across the country as also to keep the morale of air warriors high.
Members of Parliament, who attended today's meeting included Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Shivaji Adhalrao Patil, Harsh Vardhan, Manish Tewari, Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya and S S Ramasubbu from Lok Sabha and Ram Chandra Khuntia, Shivanand Tiwari, Dr. Janardhan Waghmare and Veer Singh from the Rajya Sabha. (ANI)