NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Tuesday said that the Chinese Air Force is still present on three air bases on their side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and assured that the IAF is fully deployed and prepared.
Addressing the media on the 89th anniversary of the force, the Air Chief Marshal said, “The situation on the Line of Actual Control is that the Chinese Air Force is still present on three air bases on their side of the LAC. We are fully deployed and prepared on our side.” On being asked about Chinese Air Force capabilities near Ladakh, he said China’s capability to launch multiple high altitude missions would remain weak.
Chaudhari also said that the induction of Rafale, Apaches have significantly added to our combat potential. He said that the IAF is in the process of new combat systems to ensure that we retain an edge over our adversaries
“The induction of Rafale, Apaches have significantly added to our combat potential. Our offensive strike capability has become even more potent with the integration of new weapons on our fleets,” said IAF Chief.
He further added that we have hardened our networks to avoid cyber attacks. Adequate safeguards are being taken to protect our critical infrastructure.
IAF is keen on integration amongst the Armed Forces. The joint planning and execution of operations by the three Services will result in a maximum increase in our net combat capability, he added.
Chaudhari took charge as the Chief of Air Staff from Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on September 30, 2021. An ace fighter pilot, he was earlier in charge of the Ladakh sector during the peak of the crisis with China.
US warns Beijing to cease coercion
Meanwhile, the United States has termed China’s recent military activity near Taiwan “provocative” and “strongly urged” Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan.
“We remain concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risk miscalculations and undermines regional peace and stability,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a news briefing when asked to comment on the issue. She urged Beijing to cease all kinds of pressure and coercion against Taiwan and said the United States has an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and therefore will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defence capability, Focus Taiwan reported.
Since Friday, China has sent almost 150 aircraft into Taiwan’s defence zone.
On Monday. a record 56 fighter aircraft flew towards Taiwan, continuing three days of sustained aggressive military posturing against the self-ruled island.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence announced that People’s Liberation Army Aircraft’s (PLAAF) 34 Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, two SU-30 fighter jets, two Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare (Y-8 ASW) planes, two KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft (KJ-500 AEW&C), and 12 Xian H-6 bomber entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
Psaki said high-level officials in Washington who are in constant communication with Beijing have conveyed the U.S.’ concern through diplomatic channels.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price echoed Psaki during a separate briefing, saying that the U.S. “strongly urged” Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan.
Since mid-September of last year, Beijing has stepped up its grey-zone tactics by regularly sending planes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most instances occurring in the southwest corner of the zone and usually consisting of one to three slow-flying turboprop planes.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war.
On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island. (ANI)