Indian Air Force is set to increase its presence abroad for strategic interests, post its officers as Additional Defence Attaches in Armenia, Spain and Ivory Coast, said IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Wednesday.

The IAF will also post a Liaison Officer in the American Pacific Air Command, Air Chief Marshal told veterans on 43rd annual day of the Air Force Association. As per an agreement reached between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US president Joe Biden in June, this year, three defence liason officers will be posted under US military command.

Chaudhari also gave an update on the formation of the Weapons System Branch, which was announced earlier to handle growing inventory due to modernisation of the Indian Air Force to get future battle ready. “We’ve got the government sanction for establishing this branch completely. The AFCAT exam was conducted a few weeks ago for the selection of candidates to join this branch...The first batch of approximately 33 officer cadets will join the academy at the beginning of next year and will get commissioned end of next year as weapon system branch officers,” said the IAF Chief who was the chief guest at the annual general meeting of the Association.

The Chief of Air Staff briefed veterans on the IAF’s achievements in the last one year and on the future plans for service in the years to come. He also felicitated three outstanding air veterans who have dedicated themselves to the cause of the AFA. He also felicitated those who have made noteworthy contributions to AFA for the betterment of the organisation. The meeting was attended by several retired Chiefs of the Air Staff, and serving officers.

President of Air Force Association and former Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria advised officers to “stay away from politics in these political times” while stressing that whatever is correct and justified, which needs to be taken up, must be taken up through the right channels.

“I got more concerned in the last one-odd week when a different twist to this is being given in terms of creating a wedge between officers and men. That officers are getting more...which is taking a political colour...We must stay away from this,” former Air Chief Marshal said.

Dispelling confusion that is being spread, he stated “..There is no merit in these arguments. I am aware of each single anomaly and case that has been taken up...I must clearly spell out that in these political times, we must stay away from politics of it. Whatever is correct and justified, which needs to be taken up, must be taken up through the right channels. That is the only way result comes, that is the only way the issue will get addressed”.

He differentiated anomalies related to Pay Commission from that of One Rank One Pension which, as per him, have all been taken up by the Services with the Ministry and is taking time to resolve.

Meanwhile, the C-295 transport aircraft, inducted a few days back in Spain in the presence of Chaudhari, landed at Air Force Station Vadodara. The aircraft would be formally handed over to the IAF in a ceremony on September 25 at Air Force Station Hindan by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.