Post recent disengagement along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Tuesday asserted that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has taken adequate "non-escalatory" measures and is prepared for "worst-case scenario" to deal with Chinese air intrusion as it attempted in June.

Ahead of 90th Air Force Day on October 8, chief of air staff Chaudhari said, "disengagement has taken place in areas along the LAC. We are keeping an eye on Chinese Air Force activities. We have increased the presence of radars and air defence networks. Appropriate non-escalatory measures have been taken in time".

Friction points

The Air Chief Marshal's response came to a query on recent incidents of Chinese combat fighters flying close to the LAC and measures undertaken to avoid its repeat. The Chief of Air Staff also stated that Indian Army's hotline will be used to communicate with the Chinese in case of any space violation.

The disengagement process of Patroling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot Springs of Eastern Ladakh along the LAC was completed on September 13 following withdrawal of troops from both the sides. But, Chaudhari was of the view that peace would return only when status quo ante is established through complete disengagement from all friction points.

With Lt General Anil Chauhan's appointment as the new Chief of Defence Staff reigniting the ambitious theaterisation plan, the Air Chief Marshal stated that the IAF was not opposed to but had some "reservations" on the move that seeks to bring together tri-services for joint planning and execution of future battle strategy.

“We are not opposing any process of integration and any process of theatre commands. We have certain reservations in respect to the structures,” he remarked to a question on the pending theatre command issues.

‘Doctrinal aspects not to be compromised’

He further elaborated by stressing that “we are fully supporting the integration process, it is only the methodology and the kind of structures that need to be future-ready, is what we are insisting on”.

The Chief of Air Staff defended the doctrine of his force and said "the doctrinal aspects of the IAF should not be compromised in any way by the new structures”.

He also said the IAF is in sync with the government on self-reliance in defence production and that the first batch of Agniveers will be inducted into the force by December.

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