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Geo-economic security is new focus for IAF
January 17, 2006 01:41 IST
"The gas comsumption in the country is moving up and the world is becoming more energy hungry everyday," said Air Chief Marshal, SP Tyagi addressing media on Monday at Gandhinagar.
With an obvious hint at the western borders of the country, which are humming with economic activities, Tyagi said, "If trade has to grow, trade security becomes a key issue. We have moved from geo-political to geo-economic and the prevailing system is better than what it was a year ago."
Adding that the Indian economy is unstoppable, he said, "I have assured President Kalam that, if necessary, the Indian warfare is ready to fight and win."
While emphasising that the Air Force has to plan well in advance, he said, "IAF is very clear what it wants to accomplish but the time frame depends on the budget."
"At present IAF is focussing on longer range aircrafts, aeroplanes that can be refilled in space and are aiming for greater reach and more exploitation in space," he said.
The IAF airbases in Jodhpur, Bhuj, Jamnagar and Puna are open for civil aviation 'as it is a national property', he said.
Talking about the MiG-21, which was referred as 'flying coffin' by the media, he said, "The aircraft costs Rs 100 crores and we are no fools to put our peoples' lives at stake."
About the IAF facing stiff competition from private airliners, Tyagi said, "Till now I have rarely recived resignations explaining that the pilots are joining private airliners and they, too, know what responsibilities rest on them."
The salary package is Rs 3 lakh per month for junior pilots and Rs 5 lakh for seniors, he added.
Tyagi on Monday unveiled a plaque for the MiG-23 MF (SK-402) fighter-bomber at the venue, the first ever public display of the aircraft in India.
A three-day conference comprising IAF commanders from all the airbases of South Western Air Command was also scheduled for the day. In 2005, IAF has been fighting disasters including tsunami, avalanche in Jammu and Kashmir, cyclones and floods, he said.
"In Jammu and Kashmir, IAF aircraft flew for 4,000 hours to aid the civilians creating history of sorts," Tyagi said.
The Air Chief Marshal also presented trophies to the winners in various categories for excellence in operational, maintenance and administrative activities held in the Command during the preceding year.