The Indian Air Force is very "well positioned" to deal with any threat and heavy deployments have been made in all relevant areas considering the current security scenario, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said on Monday, referring to the border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
Addressing a press conference ahead of Air Force Day on October 8, Bhadauria said Chinese air force can't get the better of IAF’s capabilities but at the same time he added that there is no question of underestimating the adversary. He also said that the IAF is prepared to deal with a two-front war along the northern and western borders if such a scenario arises. "Be rest assured that we have deployed strongly to deal with any contingency," the IAF chief said when asked about the situation in eastern Ladakh and possible threat from China in the region. "We have made deployment in all relevant areas; Ladakh is a small part," he added. The Air chief also said that the recent induction of the five Rafale jest has give the IAF an “operational edge.”
India and China have been locked in a bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh for the past five months. Both sides have held a series of diplomatic and military talks to resolve the row. However, no breakthrough has been achieved to end the standoff. The armies of the two countries are scheduled to hold a fresh round of talks on October 12 with a specific agenda of firming up a roadmap for disengagement of troops from all friction points.
According to reports, the IAF has already deployed almost all its frontline fighter jets like Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 aircraft in the key frontier air bases in eastern Ladakh and elsewhere along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The newly inducted fleet of five Rafale jets have also been carrying out sorties in eastern Ladakh.
Following the last round of military talks on September 21, the two armies announced a slew of decisions including not to send more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any action that may further complicate matters. The military talks were held with a specific agenda of exploring ways to implement a five-point agreement reached between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a meeting in Moscow on September 10 on the side-lines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) conclave.
The pact included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC.