Army, IAF should reconcile differences on assets: Antony

AK Antony
New Delhi, Sep 13: Defence Minister A K Antony today (Sep 13) said there was a "difference of perception" over the control of aviation assets between the Army and the Air Force and the two services must reconcile on the issue.

"Regarding aviation assets, naturally there are some differences in perception," the Minister said at the silver jubilee function of the Army Aviation Corps.

The two forces have a difference of opinion on the use of Mi-35 attack helicopters, which are used to provide support to ground troops.

The army contends that it should control these assets as its troops are fighting on ground whereas the IAF doesn't want to lose them arguing that as the main aerial force, it was better suited to perform such roles.

"While enhancing your capabilities and performing your role, I feel you must ensure that there is perfect synergy between army and the IAF.... W have to work for this reconciliation," the Minister said.

"In our public life, it (reconciliation) is in everyday life. But now services will also have to learn the art of reconciliation among themselves. This effort should be among yourselves so that India can have a very strong and better coordinated determined force to face future threats," Antony said.

He said if the forces wanted, the Ministry "could also play a limited role" in the reconciliation process.

Meanwhile, answering a query on Defence Ministry's ''in principle'' approval for 10 per cent disinvestment in HAL, Antony said the decision was taken to "contribute to the efforts of the Government.

"Now the Finance Ministry and Commerce Ministry will take steps on the issue." To help the modernisation plans of the HAL, the Ministry has given in principle approval for the divestment of India's only aerospace PSU HAL.


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