Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari to be new Chief of Indian Air Force

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari on Tuesday said that the  presence of China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) along the LAC is not going to have any effect on the IAF’s operations.

Addressing the media during his first press conference ahead of the 89th Air Force Day, ACM Chaudhari said, “Chinese PLAAF is still present along the LAC. This is not going to affect our air operations. For the air force, it will not make much difference.”

It was a few days back that the Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane had said that the heavy presence of Chinese soldiers along the LAC is a matter of concern. The Air Chief also said that the PLAAF was developing airstrips but “they have a huge penalty of high altitude.”

The weight carrying capacity of the PLAAF aircraft comes down heavily due to a rarefied atmosphere at the high altitude of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

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“We are fully committed to integration and jointness. The process and structure have to cater for future warfare,” said the Air Chief on the issue of the theatre command. However, he also maintained that the doctrine of each service needs to be kept in mind.

India is reorganizing and integrating its armed forces into a theatre command where the three services will be integrated under one commander and every theatre assigned a fixed area for operational duty. At present, the three services of the Army, Navy and Air Force have their own commands and approach operations discretely.

On the induction of the S-400 air defence system, he said, “Hopefully, the first squadron should be inducted within this year.”

“There are four MiG 21 squadrons. We plan to retire them all in the next three to four years,” the IAF chief said.

The Air Chief also denied reports of the air force conducting a two-finger test on a woman officer in Coimbatore who had accused a fellow IAF officer of rape. “Two finger test in the Coimbatore rape case was not done. It was misreported.” said the Air Chief, adding that a detailed inquiry will be conducted.