Friday, June 24, 2011

IAF sees China, Pakistan as challenges, not threats

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) Despite China's rapid defence modernisation and military aid to Pakistan, Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik sees the two countries as challenges and not as threats so that there is no arms race in the region.

Naik told the Indian Women Press Corps during an interaction Thursday that IAF's own modernisation plans were 'capability-centric' and not country-specific.

'They (China and Pakistan) are not threats, but challenges. The Indian armed forces' mission is to safeguard our territory. If we start thinking in terms of country-specific threats, it becomes an arm race between countries,' Naik said in response to queries on his assessment of the threats posed by the two countries to India's security.

'The aim is... what are the things I need to meet my country's aspiration. We go capability-specific and not country-specific. We have a long-term integrated perspective plan, which combines the modernisation plans of all the three services. For air force, it is capability build up,' he said.

Noting that modernisation should have started a decade ago, the air force chief said this could not happen due to the country's limited resources.

'But now, the old aircrafts will be phased out. By 2014 it will be done,' he said, adding that the number of pilots too will increase in accordance with the number of new aircraft that India would buy in the near future.