Saturday, October 8, 2016

Prepared to take up any challenge: IAF chief Arup Shaha

Hindon, Oct 8: Asserting that the Indian armed forces are prepared to take on any challenge, the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Saturday said there has been enough discussion on the surgical strikes across the LoC, but the forces will not talk about it.

"There has been so much discussion on this issue in the country; every section of society is giving opinion on this issue. ... The armed forces are supposed to deliver the result that the nation expects. We are not going to talk about it; we will just deliver," Air Chief Marshal Raha said at the Hindon Air Base on the 84th Air Force Day.

Raha is also Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Responding to a question on the surgical strikes and politicisation of the issue, Raha refused to comment on the Indian Army action across the Line of Control on the night of September 28-29 and related issues.

The surgical strikes came in the wake of the September 18 terrorist attack on an army camp in Uri town of Jammu and Kashmir, in which 19 soldiers were killed.

In his speech at the Air Force Day function earlier, Raha mentioned both the Pathankot and Uri attacks in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir respectively.

"Terrorist attacks at Uri (army camp) and Pathankot (IAF) base show the troubled times we are living in," Raha said.

Asked to comment on the issue later, the Air Force chief said India is learning lessons every time something happens.

"We are getting smarter and smarter; we are learning lessons every time something happens. I think we are very well prepared now to face any such contingency," he said.

"The armed forces are well prepared to take on any sub-conventional threat. We have had one or two cases... A determined terrorist can always get the better of people but the aim is to prevent it... the deterrence. We should be able to detect any such attack right in the beginning so that we can neutralise them (terrorists) before they cause any damage," the IAF chief said.

Raha, in his speech, said that India is being seen as a "net security provider" in the Indian Ocean region.

Earlier on Saturday, in a message on newly-created official Facebook page of the IAF, Raha said the IAF is prepared to deal with "any challenge" in "most befitting manner".

"We continue to train to take up any threat and are fully prepared to undertake any challenge in most befitting manner," the IAF chief said.

The official Facebook page of the IAF has been named 'Indian Air Force, Power to Punish'.

Asked if the name was an indication, Raha said in a lighter tone: "That was put up on our Facebook page, power to punish, that is a fact, but I think we will make it power to serve the nation".

The event also saw one Yudh Seva medal, five Vayu Sena Medals Gallantry, 16 Vayu Sena Medals, and 29 Vishisht Seva Medals given away.

The Air Force Day commemorates the establishment of the armed force on October 8, 1932.

The glittering event at Hindon Air Force Base saw a colourful flypast and display which showcased all leading aircraft of the IAF, including its latest induction indigenous fighter Tejas.
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