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CDS Rawat says difficult to predict war scenario with Pakistan

The top general, who inducted the Sukhoi-30 MKI squadron here, was responding to a question about any possibility of a war emerging between India and Pakistan." All the defence services are tasked to be prepared for any option that may emerge.

PTI|
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2020, 10.24 AM IST
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PTI
Bipin Rawat
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat addresses at the induction ceremony of the first Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft squadron at the Thanjavur airbase, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
THANJAVUR: Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat on Monday asserted that the defence services were prepared to take on any challenge, as he said it was very difficult to predict if a war scenario with Pakistan would emerge and downplayed the Chinese matrix in the Indian Ocean Region.

Inducting the first Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter squadron in south India at the Air Force Station here, seen as a gamechanger in guarding the strategically important IOR, the top general said all the three services were tasked to prepare for any option that may emerge.

He was responding to a question about any possibility of a war emerging between India and Pakistan.

"...It is very difficult to predict a scenario. But, we are always prepared for any task that may be assigned to us," Gen Rawat told reporters.

Asked about how Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean posed a threat to India, he said every nation looked at its security from a strategic perspective.

While the squadron here is expected to give a thrust to India's capabilities for dominance especially in the IOR, China's presence in the same region is on the rise.

The Dragon nation already has a military base at the strategically located Djibouti at the horn of Africa, its first in a foreign nation, and it is also looking at expanding its presence.

"Every nation looks at its security from a strategic perspective.

Oceans are meant for freedom of navigation. And therefore wherever you find any country which has interest in a particular area, it will attempt to come to that area to dominate the area more so for the freedom of navigation," he told reporters.

Further, pointing to aspects like protection of trade in sea routes by any country, he said: "Therefore, I don't think we should look at it particularly from that perspective (a pointer to perceived threat from China)."

Also, he said the navies were operating in this area (indicating IOR) only because of freedom of navigation.

The top general also referred to facets like piracy that can disrupt movement of merchant ships.

On how strong was the Army, Rawat said "have confidence in armed forces, they will never let you down. They have never let you down in the past and they will never let you down in the future."

Asked about manpower shortage in the army, the Chief of Defence Staff said adequate number of people joined the three services, adding, in view of a very stringent form of selection some aspirants could not be selected.

"You need people who are patriotic in their thought and who are willing to serve under very difficult operating conditions," he said.

Gen Rawat said his new role was aimed at integrating defence systems and the three services (the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force).

It was for this reason the post of CDS was created, he said.

"...we will keep moving towards better integration and jointness," Rawat, who was appointed the country's first Chief of Defence Staff on December 30 last year, added.

On strengthening the Air base here, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria said it will undertake the role of the southern peninsula's air defence.

Asked about threat of unmanned aerial vehicles, the IAF chief said said it will be tackled by developing new systems.

"...We know that in the future unmanned systems will be used and we should also be capable of protecting our air space by defending our own systems through technology."

The Indian Air Force commissioned a squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI at the Air Force Station here, the first such base in south India for the high profile fighter jets, seen as a gamechanger in guarding the strategically important Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

The 'Tigersharks' squadron of Sukhoi 30 MKI jets integrated with the BrahMos cruise missiles was inducted in the presence of the Air Chief and top officials.

The Su-30 MKI is a state-of-the-art all weather multi-role fighter aircraft capable of undertaking varied air defence, ground attack and maritime missions.

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