New Delhi: Defence minister, AK Antony, has urged the country's air force commanders to make all efforts towards developing the Indian Air Force (IAF) into a dominant aerospace power.
Inaugurating the three-day long Air Force Commanders' Conference here today, the minister said that the IAF is in the process of transformation and modernization with several important projects in various stages of implementation. He also said that the Government was aware of the challenges, issues confronting the IAF and its requirements.
Being a technology intensive force, Antony remarked, that the IAF's attempts should be to enhance its strategic reach and to integrate potent capabilities in air defence surveillance, space based assets and advance weapon systems in order to develop it into a dominant aerospace power.
The minister observed, "We must also develop asymmetric capabilities against superior forces".
The Minister said that IAF has an ambitious action plan for acquisition of new systems and up-gradation of existing ones over the next three years. Given the substantial amount of public money being used for these efforts, it is imperative that these financial resources are utilized honestly, efficiently and optimally.
Antony also said that the country had been relying on outside suppliers to meet the requirement of its defence forces for quite some time. However, he remarked that a country like India cannot 'indefinitely' continue to rely on outside suppliers and self-reliance and indigenization must be our top priority.
The minister said, "Self-reliance through indigenization should be the 'mantra' for companies in both the public as well as the private sector."
Deliberating on India's friendly and cordial relations with all nations, especially country's in its immediate neighborhood, the minister said our relations with Pakistan show signs of improvement. However, Pakistan needs to match its words with actions on dismantling the terrorists and 'jehadi' infrastructure. He said, "though we deserve peace with Pakistan and want to continue talks with Pakistan on various issues, it is imperative for us to maintain eternal vigil all along our borders".