IAF is in cri­sis, says US think tank

The Financial Express - - POLITICS -

Wash­ing­ton, March 28: In­dia’s tra­di­tional air su­pe­ri­or­ity is now un­der “threat” as China and Pak­istan are rapidly moder nis­ing their air force, a top US think-tank warned on Mon­day, un­der­lin­ing that re­solv­ing the “cri­sis” should be a pri­or­ity for the gov­ern­ment.

“De­spite be­ing a world­class com­bat arm, the IAF’s fall­ing end strength and prob­lem­atic force struc­ture, com­bined with its trou­bled ac­qui­si­tion and devel­op­ment pro­grams, threaten In­dia’s air su­pe­ri­or­ity over its rapidly mod­ernising ri­vals, China and Pak­istan,” said the Carnegie En­dow­ment for In­ter­na­tional Peace.

Au­thored by Ash­ley Tel­lis, the top Amer­i­can ex­pert on In­dia and South Asia, whose coun­sel is sought by gov­ern­ments in both the coun­tries, the re­port “The Man­i­fold Tra­vails of the In­dian Air Force” ar­gues that In­dian air dom­i­nance is vi­tal for de­ter­rence sta­bil­ity in south­ern Asia and for pre­serv­ing the strate­gic bal­ance in the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion.

“Re­solv­ing In­dia’s air­power cri­sis, there­fore, should be a pri­or­ity for New Delhi,” Tel­lis says in his re­port run­ning in more than 60 pages.

The IAF’s fighter force, as of early 2016, is weaker than the num­bers sug­gest, the re­port said, adding that at nom­i­nally 36.5 squadrons, it is well short of its sanc­tioned strength, and many of its front­line air­craft are ob­so­lete. PTI

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