Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday advised Indian Air Force to focus on air defence systems, given the lethality of rocket forces on display in recent global conflicts.

In his inaugural address at the two-day Air Force Commanders’ Conference, the Defence Minister exhorted the top brass to analyse and learn from emerging air warfare trends to strengthen defence preparedness and air defence systems, including use of drones and aerospace advances to protect India’s air domain.

“There are new challenges emanating from the global security scenario. We must always be ready to deal with them,” the Ministry of Defence quoted him as having said, in a reference to the Russia-Ukraine war and the more recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. Singh also emphasised on the need to enhance operational preparedness and the importance of joint planning and execution of operations by the three services, the MoD stated.

The Minister reportedly praised the stellar role played by the IAF during the recent humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions in Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and other flood-affected areas. He congratulated the IAF for successfully organising the Air Force Day Parade and Air Display at Prayagraj, which was well appreciated by the people. Raksha Rajya Mantri Ajay Bhatt and Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan were among those present on the occasion.

The conference, held bi-annually, involves discussions on charting lAF’s way ahead, given the current geo-political environment and technological imperatives. Eminent national security experts and accomplished personalities from various fields are invited to present their views during the conference.