New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the Indian Air Force (IAF) should lead the nation in drafting a roadmap for manufacture of advanced aviation technology products and thus propel India’s growth story.
“… being a tech intensive service, the IAF should pioneer in laying the roadmap for absorption and production of high-end aviation technology products in India and propel India’s growth in these sectors,” an official statement quoted Sitharaman as saying.
Inaugurating the first biannual IAF Commanders’ Conference of 2018 at Vayu Bhawan (Air Headquarters), the minister laid down her vision for contribution of the IAF towards indigenisation as envisaged in the government’s ‘Make in India’ policy in the next 15 years.
The Defence Minister also commended the IAF for its role in nation building by way of promoting regional connectivity through its support to the UDAN scheme. The IAF has opened up several of its airfields for civil aircraft operations in furtherance of the scheme.
IAF chief B.S. Dhanoa welcomed Sitharaman, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra.
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa introduced IAF Commanders to the minister and briefed her on the current status of the IAF and on Exercise ‘Gagan Shakti’, which was conducted in April this year.
He highlighted that the exercise was very fruitful in testing the IAF’s surge operations capability, logistics supply chain, rapid augmentation of personnel, inter theatre move of forces, communication network and reliability of equipment and systems.
Addressing the IAF Commanders, the Defence Minister praised the exemplary conducting of the IAF’s biggest exercise in recent times. Calling ‘Gagan Shakti’ a landmark exercise for the IAF, she said its focus was to draw lessons for evolving the doctrinal loop which is an ongoing process.
She complimented the IAF for a leadership role in jointmanship which was evident during the exercise and congratulated the Army and Navy for supporting the Air Force in achieving the objectives.