IAF chief forced to retract China threat remark

May 27th, 2009 - 11:15 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, May 27 (ANI): Outgoing Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, on Wednesday, appeared to retract on a widely reported remark in which he said India’s biggest threat was from China and not Pakistan.

Addressing his last press conference before superannuating on May 31, Air Chief Marshal said he never made comments to the effect that China was a greater threat to India than Pakistan.

The u-turn suggested that the Air Chief may have been pressurized by the Indian Government to distance himself from the remarks keeping in mind diplomatic sensitivities. He also said there is no escalation of threat from China and that the Indian Air Force has eliminated that danger.

“There has been no escalation in threat from China. What I meant was that we knew very little about air power of China, We don’t want our Air Force to be threat centric. The IAF should be capability centric to deal in all spectrum of warfare and we have a long way to go,” Air Chief Marshal Major said.

He further went on to say that very little is known about China’s “actual capability” in the defence sector.

“I meant to say that we know very little about the actual capability of the country… You do not want to be threat-centric, you want to be capability-based,” Air Chief Marshal Major said here.

While asserting that IAF was placed “very well” vis-a-vis China, the IAF chief said: “We need to improve our combat edge.
We certainly have plans to improve infrastructure in the northeastern region. We are in the process of developing four-five airfields and advance landing grounds and put our assets there. Soon, we will be moving our one squadron of Sukhois (combat jets) to the northeast,” Air Chief Marshal Major added.

In an interview to a newspaper, the IAF chief had said earlier this week that in the wake of its military expansion, China is a “bigger threat” than Pakistan.

Defence Minister A K Antony said on Monday that his ministry has taken note of the rapid development of infrastructure by China on its side of the border.

“Infrastructure development in the northeast and other border areas (and) modern equipment in coastal areas is more important and will require fast track procurement,” he said.

“India wants to have friendly relations with all its neighbours. We have to not only maintain but improve relations with China. At the same time, we have to be eternally prepared for any challenges to our security,” he added. (ANI)

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