Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressed the biannual IAF Commanders’ Conference (AFCC-21) on 15 April at Air Headquarters. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) welcomed the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat, and other senior officials from the MoD.
During his address Singh expressed happiness that the conference coincides with the birth anniversary of the Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC. The RM congratulated 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. He appreciated the critical focus of IAF towards reorienting for the future.
Speaking about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Defence Minister appreciated 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 the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Self Reliance’, Singh stressed on the need to promote self-reliance in Defence Infrastructure. He 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. He added that 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.
He 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, he 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 will conclude on 16 April. The status of strengthening current combat capabilities and the action plan for making IAF a future-ready combat force would be examined. Issues pertaining to systems, reforms and restructuring for ensuring more efficient processes across all domains and optimised operational training will also be discussed.