IAF watching Chinese military modernisation ‘with caution’


New Delhi: India is cautiously watching the defence modernisation of its neighbours, including China, a top military commander said Monday, stressing that anything that impacts the country’s growth was a “matter of concern”.

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“All neighbours, borrowing Chanakya’s quotes, have to be watched with caution on the impact and growth of our nation. So we watch all neighbours, be it the smallest or the largest, with caution,” the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, told reporters.

He was addressing a press conference ahead of the IAF’s 78th anniversary Friday.

The air chief was responding to questions on China’s military buildup and India’s preparedness to counter this.

“Anything that upsets the growth of the nation is a matter of concern,” he said.

Indian military preparedness and growth “is viewed as such and planned for”, he added.

He, however, said that India believed in the “sovereignty of every neighbor and their right” to do what they want to within their country’s boundaries.

“We are neighbours and we must respect the sovereignty of each country,” he said.

Asked if the IAF was, like the Indian Army, preparing for a possible two-front war with Pakistan and China, Naik said parried the question and quipped: “The air force prepares for multi-front war. It is not single-front or other front or something. It is in terms of allocation of forces that you distinguish. Otherwise, we are preparing for multi-dimensional, multi-faceted, multi-front war.”

The IAF’s modernisation plans, Naik said, were based on “capability and not adversary specific”.

“India’s area of responsibility extends from the Strait of Hormuz to the Malacca Straits and beyond. This will happen in the future. We see what capability is required to meet this aspiration and accordingly modernisation and procurements are planned,” Naik said.