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India notes defence developments in China: Air force chief

Thursday, 12 December 2013 - 2:04pm IST | Agency: IANS

India is taking note of defence developments in its neighbourhood, and is in a state of preparedness to thwart nefarious designs and threats, Indian Air Force chief N.A.K. Browne said here Thursday.

"We certainly take note of each and every thing that is happening in our neighbourhood, but as I said, development is not targeted against one single country. Every country has the right to prepare itself. So does China, so do we," Browne told journalists at the Advanced Landing Ground in Upper Shillong.

India is no longer under the 1962 (India-China War) syndrome, said the IAF chief, set to retire at the end of this month. Browne was on a farewell visit to the Eastern Air Command headquarters in Meghalaya.

"The country is very well prepared in all aspects. When we prepare ourselves, we don't look at any specific country or the threat that you mention. We want to look at the defence of the country and the air force specifically across broad parameters," Browne told reporters, who were asking him specific questions about threats in India's immediate neighbourhood.

"Our planning is based on certain capabilities. But our development is not just targeted within the country. We should be able to broadly meet the challenges that are going to be facing us now, and also in future. It is an ongoing process."

Asserting that the IAF had embarked on a major modernisation plan in the northeast, Browne said its major acquisitions and upgradations would give the air force a set of capabilities for meeting all perceived threats head-on.

"The northeast is an important area for us and our air defence is constantly in a stage of improvement, and this thing does take time. We have planned mountain radars for hilly terrain, which actually is an indigenous project. That is very much on," Browne said.

"We will also add one more squadron of Sukhoi Su-30 combat jets at Tezpur in northern Assam next year, after the formation of a squadron at Sirsa (Haryana)."

The IAF inducted its first Su-30 squadron at Tezpur in northern Assam in June 2009. In March, a single Su-30 was stationed at Chabua, also in Assam, and the number will gradually be raised to full-squadron strength of 18.

The decision to deploy the Su-30s, the most potent fighter in the IAF inventory, follows repeated instances of Chinese incursions in Arunachal Pradesh in the last few years.

The Tezpur and the Chabua air bases are within striking distance of the India-China border along Arunachal Pradesh.

Beijing had, in 2003, given up its territorial claim over the Indian state of Sikkim but still maintains that vast stretches of Arunachal Pradesh belong to China.

Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,030-km unfenced border with China. This frontier is defined by the McMahon Line, a notional boundary that is now known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

China has never recognised the McMahon Line, and claims 90,000 sq km or almost all of Arunachal Pradesh. India also accuses China of occupying 8,000 sq km in Kashmir.

India and China fought a bitter border war in 1962, with Chinese troops advancing deep into what was then called the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and inflicting heavy casualties on Indian troops.


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