Cautioning that modernisation of the force cannot be done in “fits and starts”,government today said it will provide all assistance to the Indian Air Force (IAF) to meet its growth plans and decrease its dependence on foreign companies for major aircraft and equipment.
Inaugurating IAF’s bi-annual Commander’s Conference here,Defence Minister A K Antony said capacity building of the force is a steady process and government will continue to support its modernisation during the next three Five Year Plan periods.
“Government is aware of the need to modernize IAF at a rapid pace and of its long-term plans for capacity building. Modernisation is a continuous,time-consuming process and cannot be accelerated in fits and starts,” Antony said.
Noting with satisfaction that budget allotted to IAF has been utilised fully,he said,”We have put in place detailed procurement procedures,so while a number of procurement schemes have been finalised,others are being processed for approval and are in various stages.”
Capacity-building of the force involves both upgradation of existing systems and platforms and our government has taken several steps in this direction,Antony added.
He reiterated the need for indigenisation in defence procurement to achieve the goal of self-reliance.
Observing that government is “acutely” aware of the urgent need to encourage indigenisation and take steps towards self-reliance in defence production,he said indigenisation will not only help domestic economy,but will also reduce our excessive dependence on foreign countries.
He stressed that indigenisation should be encouraged,”so the IAF need not rely on foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for procurement of major aircraft and equipment.”