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'No short-term threat from China on Arunachal border'

Source: PTI
November 20, 2006 21:06 IST
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The Indian Air Force does not foresee any 'short-term threat' from China on the Arunachal Pradesh border in the Northeastern region, a top officer said on Monday.

"We do not see any short-term threat from China on the Arunachal Pradesh border," Air Officer Commanding IAF's Eastern command Air Marshal F H Major told reporters at the air force station in Jorhat. He was replying to a question on the recent controversy on China's claim over Arunachal Pradesh.

"But in the longer run, the threat cannot be ruled out as the economy of that country (China) is growing as ours... Instead of calculating our (IAF) strength, the general perception should be based on our capabilities," he said.

He said the IAF provided logistic support to at least eight forward areas manned by the army in Arunachal Pradesh from the Jorhat air force station. The Air Marshal said keeping in view the threat of jihadi elements striking at IAF bases in Assam, 'an action plan has been chalked out' accordingly.

"There are intelligence inputs about such a possibility as most of the IAF bases are adjacent to the civil airports and we have taken care of it," Major said, ahead of the IAF air show in Jorhat on November 25 next as a part of its platinum jubilee year celebration.

Major said during 2005-06, the force had the lowest number of accidents and hoped that such air shows would create awareness among the common people about the IAF. On the disaster management programme of the IAF in the region, he said close liaison was maintained with the civil authorities as well as with the Army. The management programme consisted of basically rescue, relief and first aid in case of a major disaster, he said.

The Air Marshal lauded the performance of the MIG-21 combat aircraft and said the Tezpur and Chabbua air force bases in the Northeast had so far trained nearly 1,900 fighter pilots. The advanced jet trainer 'Hawk' is scheduled to arrive next year, which replace the ageing MIG 21 for training fighter pilots, he said.

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