Aerospace power to be crucial in future conflicts: Antony

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New Delhi, Apr 26 (ANI): Defence Minister A K Antony on Monday said the recently demonstrated precision strike capabilities of the Indian Air Force would go a long way in ensuring national security, adding that the aerospace power will prove to be crucial in future conflicts.

"In the years to come, Aerospace Power will prove to be the decisive factor in shaping the outcome of conflicts. Indian Air Force is in the process of transforming itself into a strategic aerospace force befitting our national growth and aspirations," said Antony, after inaugurating the four-day bi-annual Indian Air Force Commanders' Conference.

"Combat units of the Indian Air Force have focused on precision capabilities to enhance their combat potential. These abilities were amply demonstrated at the recently concluded 'Exercise Vayushakti'. The day, dusk and night operations with 'Live' firing, bore ample testimony to the nation's capability to tackle any threat," he added.

Antony reiterated the Government's concerns on terrorism emanating from the Pakistani soil.

"We recently restarted the dialogue with Pakistan. However, there has been no change in Pakistan's policy of extending support to the terrorist activities and the terrorist infrastructure on its soil," said Antony.

"It is high time that Pakistan took action on the ground to match its words. On our part, though we want peaceful relations with Pakistan, we must keep a strict vigil on the developments in Pakistan and further strengthen our defence forces," he added.

The Defence Minister stressed on the constant modernisation of the IAF.

"The IAF is in the process of modernisation and is upgrading its entire fleet with state-of-the-art equipment to retain the cutting edge. It must also maintain its capability to operate in a high-risk environment," said Antony.

"Over the next few years, the IAF would have more advanced combat aircraft, helicopters, force multipliers and Air Defence systems," he added.

Antony also underlined the safety aspects of flying high-tech machines.

"An issue that needs our undivided attention is taking steps to reduce the accidents. Each one of you - individually, as well as collectively, must ensure that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are followed in letter and spirit, at all times and under all circumstances," said Antony.

"With more and more sophisticated aircrafts joining our fleet, the importance of regular training and constant maintenance can never be over-emphasised," he added, asserting that India's strategic location - both from a geographical and geopolitical standpoint, poses several challenges.

"The security environment in South Asia continues to be a matter of concern," Antony noted.

The four-day bi-annual conference will have discussions on the key achievements and progress made by the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQIDS). The HQIDS will also make presentations on major achievements and contemporary issues of the Tri-Services.

Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, Army Chief General VK Singh and Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma will be addressing the conference.

Heads of various Tri-Services training Institutions like Defence Services Staff College from Wellington in Tamil Nadu, College of Defence Management from Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh, and National Defence Academy from Pune in Maharashtra, in addition to senior officers from the Ministry of Defence and the three Defence Services will also attend the conference. (ANI)

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