IAF chief unaware of Russian air force patrol plans in Indian Ocean

August 7th, 2008 - 10:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) The Russians have announced plans to conduct patrol flights over the Indian Ocean region with their strategic Tu-160 and Tu-95 bombers but the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Fali H. Major remains unaware of any such move. When asked about the security implications of the Russian move in the Indian Ocean region, Air Chief Marshal Major Thursday said: ““I would have commented on the issue had I known about it. But I have not seen the report yet.”

The IAF chief was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a lecture at the United Services Institution here on “Indian Air Force as Aerospace Power”.

The Russian Air Force commander-in-chief Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin told reporters in Moscow Wednesday that they were considering flights by strategic bombers in the Indian Ocean zone.

“At present, the crews of strategic aircraft are prepared in equipment and training to fulfil assignments with in-air refuelling over water bodies, in particular over the Indian and Atlantic Oceans,” Zelin said.

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the neutral waters of Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August. “Since August 2007, Russian strategic bombers have carried out about 150 patrol flights,” Zelin said.

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