New Delhi. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressed the biannual IAF Commanders’ Conference (AFCC-21) at Air Headquarters in New Delhi on April 15. Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria PVSM AVSM VM ADC welcomed the Defence Minister, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat and other senior officials from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
During his address the Defence Minister expressed happiness that the conference coincides with the birth anniversary of the Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC. Singh congratulated Indian Air Force (IAF) for ensuring a timely and befitting response to the sudden developments in Eastern Ladakh. He advised the Commanders to draw up long term plans and strategies for capability enhancement to counter future threats, and appreciated the critical focus of IAF towards reorienting for the future.
Speaking about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, he commended the role played by the IAF in assisting other Government agencies in their task. Referring to changing international geopolitics, he observed that the perceptible shift of focus from Trans-Atlantic to Trans-Pacific has become more obvious in the recent past. Changing dimensions of war would now include advanced technologies, asymmetric capabilities and info-dominance, and it was very important that the IAF’s preparations for the future must include these aspects.
Reiterating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Self Reliance’, the Defence Minister stressed on the need to promote Atmanirbharta in Defence Infrastructure, and added that the IAF’s order for LCA would result in a substantial boost to the domestic defence industry and will be a game changer from the indigenisation perspective.
He urged the Commanders to continue their efforts for achieving even greater results in the field of indigenous defence production and aircraft maintenance and said national security and economic development are complementary aspects of national policy. The IAF’s support for the indigenous industry would result in the development of MSMEs in this field which will simultaneously serve the cause of self-reliance and socio-economic development of the country.
The Defence Minister urged the Commanders to take stock and implement all directions issued by the PM during the Combined Commanders’ Conference. He stressed on the need to continue to work proactively towards the integration process currently underway, implementation of the joint logistics plan and to enhance synergy in areas of joint planning and operations.
In his closing remarks, Defence Minister Singh assured the AF Commanders of the wholehearted support from the Ministry of Defence in achieving the goal of being a potent Strategic Aerospace Force. He expressed confidence that important decisions taken during the conference would enhance the combat potential of the IAF.
The Commanders’ Conference, which concludes on April 16, would also examine the status of strengthening current combat capabilities and the action plan for making IAF a future-ready combat force. Issues pertaining to systems, reforms and restructuring for ensuring more efficient processes across all domains and optimised operational training would also be discussed.