Chennai: The armed forces have been asked to be in a state of readiness, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said on Monday when asked about the possibility of a war in near future against the backdrop of Pakistan’s current attitude towards India.
General Rawat, who was at the Thanjavur Indian Air Force station in central Tamil Nadu, for the induction of the squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets, which are armed with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, said though he could not predict a war, the armed forces were in a state of readiness. He said operation of the Su-30 MKI fighter planes with BrahMos missiles would be a “game changer” for the armed forces.
The positioning of five to six Su-30 MKI fighter planes at Thanjavur, to begin with (18 planes to be inducted later), would give the Indian Air Force more air power to strike from long stand-off ranges on any target at sea or on land with accuracy by day or night and in all weather conditions, an IAF officer explained. He added considering increasing foray by the Chinese Navy into Indian Ocean, the deployment of the fighter planes is significant.
IAF Air Chief Marshal RKS Bahadauria told media there was no proposal to set up additional permanent bases in southern region. “The decision to deploy the Su-30 MKI at Thanjavur was taken due to its strategic location,” he said.
The integration of the air launched version of the BrahMos missile on the SU-30MKIs was “indigenously undertaken by BrahMos Aerospace, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the IAF.”
An IAF officer pointed out that the 222 Squadron, also known as Tigersharks, was raised in September 1969 at Ambala, and moved to Halwara in 1971. It was deployed in active combat operations in the 1971 war. Later, it was moved back to Ambala in 1975 and from there to Hindon in 1985.