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�IAF�s capabilities have void and gaps�

By Raju Das
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SHILLONG, Aug 13 - With China lurking in the backyard, the Indian Air Force is desperately trying to fill the �voids and gaps� in the Eastern theatre. But Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha today said attention was not paid in the past to this vital sector.

This is the first time an IAF chief has candidly admitted about India�s fixation on the Western sector, vis-a-vis Pakistan and the years of attention-deficit on the Eastern sector.

�We have voids and gaps in the our capabilities in the Eastern sector,� Air Chief Marshal Raha said at the end of the two-day Commanders� Conference at the Eastern Air Command (EAC) headquarters here today.

What is worrying is the rapid infrastructure build-up of China for years now along India�s border, especially along Arunachal Pradesh. Civil airports have been integrated with the People�s Liberation Army Air Force for swifter combat capabilities. Further, new airfields have been built and other modern infrastructure and equipment are already in place.

But the good news is that after 60-odd years, India is finally going full steam to develop the Eastern sector. The Air Chief said the EAC�s area of responsibility is one of the largest amongst other Commands of the Air Force. So now a number of initiatives have been undertaken to develop it.

Air Chief Marshal Raha said several Advance Landing Grounds are being built in the North East and Eastern India. �We are upgrading our infrastructure and equipments in the Eastern sector,� the Air Chief said.

He said the country �urgently� requires new generation fighter aircrafts and the induction of 36 Rafale fighter jets, once the deal is finalised with France, would �fill some void� in the Air Force. He said, in the next 15 years, the Air Force�s ageing fleet comprising the MIGs, Jaguars and Mirages have to be replaced.

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�IAF�s capabilities have void and gaps�

SHILLONG, Aug 13 - With China lurking in the backyard, the Indian Air Force is desperately trying to fill the �voids and gaps� in the Eastern theatre. But Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha today said attention was not paid in the past to this vital sector.

This is the first time an IAF chief has candidly admitted about India�s fixation on the Western sector, vis-a-vis Pakistan and the years of attention-deficit on the Eastern sector.

�We have voids and gaps in the our capabilities in the Eastern sector,� Air Chief Marshal Raha said at the end of the two-day Commanders� Conference at the Eastern Air Command (EAC) headquarters here today.

What is worrying is the rapid infrastructure build-up of China for years now along India�s border, especially along Arunachal Pradesh. Civil airports have been integrated with the People�s Liberation Army Air Force for swifter combat capabilities. Further, new airfields have been built and other modern infrastructure and equipment are already in place.

But the good news is that after 60-odd years, India is finally going full steam to develop the Eastern sector. The Air Chief said the EAC�s area of responsibility is one of the largest amongst other Commands of the Air Force. So now a number of initiatives have been undertaken to develop it.

Air Chief Marshal Raha said several Advance Landing Grounds are being built in the North East and Eastern India. �We are upgrading our infrastructure and equipments in the Eastern sector,� the Air Chief said.

He said the country �urgently� requires new generation fighter aircrafts and the induction of 36 Rafale fighter jets, once the deal is finalised with France, would �fill some void� in the Air Force. He said, in the next 15 years, the Air Force�s ageing fleet comprising the MIGs, Jaguars and Mirages have to be replaced.

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