New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is monitoring the developments along the western front and is prepared to carry out a Balakot-type strike, if directed by the government, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said after taking charge Monday.
RKS Bhadauria, who has around 4,250 hours of flying experience on 26 types of aircraft and led commercial negotiations for procurement of the 36 Rafale jets, also said the induction of these French combat aircraft will give the IAF enhanced aerial prowess over the country’s ‘adversaries’.
“We are monitoring the developments and I reassure the country that we are ready to deal with any situation where our services are required by the nation,” the Air Chief Marshal told this agency.
“We are prepared for any eventuality and will carry out any mission as directed by the government,” the 60-year-old RKS Bhadauria said when asked whether IAF was prepared to carry out another strike across the border in view of Army Chief Bipin Rawat’s recent comments that the Balakot terror camp has been reactivated.
The IAF had carried out a precision strike, bombing a major Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist training camp deep inside Pakistan’s Balakot, February 26, which was seen as a paradigm shift in India’s approach in containing cross border terrorism.
Without elaborating, Bhadauria said the IAF was in the process of inducting significant combat capability which will bolster its overall operational potential. “We are always vigilant and are fully prepared to deal with any contingency,” asserted Bhadauria.
On the procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft, Bhadauria opined that the aircraft will give us ‘enhanced capabilities over our adversaries. It will significantly boost combat prowess of the IAF’. The first of the 36 Rafale jets will be received October 8 by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at a ceremony in Paris.
With the IAF grappling with rising number of accidents involving its aircraft, the IAF chief said ensuring safety of aircraft and other war fighting equipment will be another focus area for him.
Earlier, in a brief message to the AIF personnel, RKS Bhadauria said, “The focus of the IAF shall be to rapidly operationalise newly inducted platforms and equipment as well as to ensure earliest and complete integration of these capabilities in IAF’s operational plans.”
“There shall be impetus on modernisation through acquisition of crucial technologies and critical capabilities with increased reliance on indigenous design and development. We shall pro-actively promote indigenisation for sustenance of all existing fleets and equipment,” the IAF chief added.
Bhadauria was commissioned in to the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1980, and has held various command, staff and instructional positions
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Bhadauria was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1980 and won the coveted ‘Sword of Honour’ for standing first in the overall order of merit. During his nearly four-decade-long career, Bhadauria commanded a Jaguar squadron and a premier air force station.