Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fragile security environment in India's neighbourhood: Browne

Voicing concern over the "extremely fragile" security environment in India's neighbourhood, IAF Chief N A K Browne has said it warrants close monitoring and air vigilance.


He also noted that inimical intentions of the country's adversaries are being strengthened by radicalism.
"Security situation in the immediate neighbourhood is extremely fragile and it is a major concern for us... the need of the hour is air vigilance," the Air Chief Marshal said in his address at the 79th Air Force Day parade in Ghaziabad.

In his Air Force Day message, the IAF chief said the "present environment in our neighbourhood is a serious cause of concern and warrants close monitoring and eternal vigilance."

"Today the inimical intentions of our adversaries are further strengthened by radicalism and infusion of technology," Browne said.

The IAF Chief had recently said that Pakistan continues to reel under relentless terrorist violence and stabilisation of internal security situation there appears a distant dream.

He had also said that increasing presence of China in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) warrants India's "attention".

Stressing on ensuring the security of all important assets of the country, the IAF chief said that security of our information networks was also "absolutely critical".

"We need to upgrade our knowledge and awareness to counter this threat," he said.

IAF to soon finalise multi-billion dollar aircraft deal

The Indian Air Force is in the "last lap" of finalising its multi-billion dollar combat aircraft deal for which commercial bids of two shortlisted vendors would be opened by 18th October.

"We are in the last lap of Medium-Multirole combat aircraft project. We should be able to open the commercial bids in ten days from now," Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said in his address at the Air Force Day parade in Ghaziabad.

The Defence Ministry had on Friday cleared the way for opening the commercial bids of Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon by approving their offset proposals.

After the bids are opened, the Defence Ministry will be able to determine the lowest bidder in the deal and decide who will ultimately get the contract described as the 'mother of all deals'.

Defence Ministry officials had said that all the spade work for the opening of bids was over and the bids will be opened in the presence of the two vendors.

Eurofighter and Rafale were shortlisted for the tender after four companies including American Lockheed Martin and Boeing, Russian MiG 35 and Swedish Saab Gripen were ousted from the race in April.

Speaking on other important IAF modernisation programmes, the IAF Chief said, "The C-130J Hercules and the Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) have been inducted and operationalised in good time".

Appreciating the capabilities of American-origin C-130J, Browne said, "Just last month our aircraft spearheaded the relief effort in Sikkim by landing at Bagdogra air base with disaster relief material and personnel within hours of being activated".

The IAF has already inducted five of the six C-130J ordered from the US under a USD one billion deal in 2007 and is looking to place orders for six more in the near future.

It is also planning to deploy the additional six aircraft at the Charbatia air base in Orissa.

The IAF has also inducted all three AWACs aircraft procured from Israel and has started using them in exercises," he said.

Browne said the planned induction of the C-17 Heavylift aircraft along with medium and heavylift choppers will increase IAF's operational flexibility.

India has recently signed a USD 4.1 billion deal with the US for procuring 10 C-17 aircraft, which will be alongside the C-130Js at the IAF base here.

On the upgrade programmes involving the fighter and transport aircraft, Browne said, "Upgrades of Jaguar, Mirage 2000 and MiG 29 fighter aircraft along with An-32 transport aircraft are underway and will help in enhancing their operational relevance."

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