( Defence Minister Rajnath Singh)

Speed Post News Network

New Delhi : The Chiefs of Air Staff Conclave began at Aero India 2021 at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru, Karnataka,  on February 3, 2021. Chiefs of Air Staff (CAS) of more than 24 countries are attending the conclave physically and 16 virtually. The theme of the two-day event is “Leveraging Aerospace Power for Security and Stability”.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in his address, said that Aero India 2021 is intended to showcase India’s intent to be among the top countries in defence and aerospace industries citing the example of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) that has been successfully operationalised and inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) with state-of-the-art weaponry. Rajnath said that the superior performance of this aircraft has impressed aviation experts around the world, according to a PIB release.

Rajnath said that the LCA Mk-1A will be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured and would bolster the “Make in India”initiative of the nation. He added that close to 500 indigenous design and production agencies are involved in the manufacture of the LCA. Speaking of the success stories of the indigenous defence industry, he applauded the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for testing 12 missile types spanning the spectrum of ranges and purposes in a matter of one and a half months.

The Defence Minister added that the IAF has launched a major indigenisation drive for sustenance of all aircraft fleets and maintenance aspects and expressed belief that this will prove to be the growth engine for Indian’s domestic aerospace manufacturing capability. He said that the country has reached an inflection point in domestic defence manufacturing and the trajectory from here on would only be upwards.He expressed the intention of the country to cooperate with defence partners in these niche technologies with focus on knowledge sharing and co-production.

Rajnath assured that India can take on the role of being the net security provider in the region adding that air power has and would continue to play a critical role in maintaining regional stability and peace in the region. Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic keynote address at ShangriLa Dialogue-2018, Rajnath said that the Prime Minister had articulated the key role of India’s Armed Forces in building partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region for peace and security as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

He further said that India’s unique disposition in the Indian Ocean Region complimented by a potent airlift capability of IAF enables it to contribute significantly in Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions.He pointed out that in the last five years itself India has tackled roughly about 100 contingencies during which more than 6,000 sorties have been flown evacuating over 44,000 persons in distress.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said there is a need to strengthen mutual understanding and existing security frameworks based on the principles of cooperation, collaboration and co-existence. He said conclaves such as the current one provide an opportunity to discuss current and emerging security challenges and enhance cooperation among the air forces.