IAF fleet 'inadequate' compared to China: IAF chief

Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik“Our present aircraft strength is inadequate. (The) aircraft strength is one third that of China," he said here in the context of reported Chinese incursions into India.

"The government is doing a lot to augment (the) air force capability," he added. "It is giving full support as far as acquisition is concerned."

The IAF has taken various initiatives to revamp the infrastructure in the northeastern states that border China. This includes reactivating and upgrading various advanced landing grounds and runways.
The IAF recently inducted a squadron of its frontline Sukhoi-30MKI combat jets at Tezpur in Assam. Plans are afoot to induct another squadron at the Chabua air base.

However, the IAF chief denied media reports of Chinese aerial incursions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“Our strategy is to play it cool. We are not downplaying anything. As far as the air force is concerned, there has been no reason to downplay anything. There have not been any incursions reported at LAC,” said Naik.

Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor had said Aug 31: "There have been several violations and one incursion by a Chinese helicopter in the past few months. It could have happened due to navigational error but that does not justify it. It was taken up at the border personnel meet."

The army chief had also said the absence of a well-defined border with China results in incursions.
India and China fought a border war in 1962.

100 IAF pilots applied for VRS; more may follow:  Naik
Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said over 100 pilots of the Indian Air Force had applied for Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) as there were "fewer" promotional avenues for them.
"We have a very steep pyramid structure (in the Air Force) where there are fewer avenues of promotions," Naik told reporters here in reply to a question on IAF pilots seeking VRS.
"When one does not get promotions after 24-25 years of service, one wants to leave and try alternative avenues. Off hand I can tell that we have over 100 applications for VRS from pilots," Air chief said.
Naik said the number of pilots opting for VRS could increase after the improvement in market situation.
"Since there is a slump in the market outside there are fewer applications. Once the slump is over the (number of) applications might increase," he said.

Naik is on a two-day visit to the South Western Air Command (SWAC) here to review its operational, maintenance and administrative preparedness.

Naik said the Air Force had set up an independent board of officers to assess the VRS applications of the pilots.
"The committee scrutinises the applications on case-to-case basis and if the reasons for VRS are justified, which mostly are on compassionate ground for children and parents, the applications are approved," Naik said.

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