No war with China in near future, says IAF officer

February 3rd, 2012 - 10:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 3 (IANS) Discounting US intelligence reports of a limited armed conflict between India and China, a senior Indian Air Force officer Friday ruled out any war in the near future but said Indian forces were fully prepared to protect the country’s strategic interests.

“I don’t see any war in the near future. At the same time, we are fully prepared to protect our borders and strategic interests as a deterrent force,” Indian Air Force (IAF) training command chief Air Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja told reporters here.

Clarifying that India was a peace-loving country and had no territorial ambitions, Kukreja said the IAF and the other two services (army and navy) were battle-ready to cut off any “evil eye” that may want to destabilise the nation.

“As a growing nation, we need to safeguard our interests, including strategic boundaries which stretch from Straits of Malacca to the Middle East. Our new ‘Look East policy’ goes up to Vietnam and can extend up to Far East in future,” Kukreja said at a briefing on the various activities of his command.

Declining to comment on media reports that Indian military was preparing to fight a limited conflict with China, the air marshal said he had no information on the basis of such an assessment being made and the motive behind it.

“I do not know the basis of their (US) intelligence for making such an assessment though every nation has a policy to protect its self-interest in the world. We do not go by what others say. We have our own assessment of the threat perception. Don’t worry, we are braced to counter any eventuality,” he asserted.

Kukreja’s observation was in light of US director of national intelligence James Clapper telling the senate select intelligence committee Tuesday that India was increasingly concerned about China’s posture along their disputed border and Beijing’s perceived aggressive posture in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific region.

Stressing on maintaining a strong armed force even during peace times, the former fighter pilot said the responsibility of the services had increased due to hostile neighbourhood and growing security concerns from non-state actors.

“Though it is over four decades since a major war was fought, we have never lowered the guard or lagged behind in training and equipping our air warriors with the latest combat aircraft, choppers and transport planes, besides modern warfare systems,” Kukreja pointed out.

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