Opening a three-day commanders' conference of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in New Delhi on Wednesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said air strikes at terror camps in Balakot in February 2019 and the rapid deployment of assets to forward locations in Eastern Ladakh during the recent standoff with China have sent strong messages to potential adversaries.
Alluding to the ongoing efforts for de-escalation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, Rajnath Singh asked the Air Force to stand ready to handle any eventuality.
Addressed the inaugural session of the Air Force Commander’s Conference today.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 22, 2020
IAF’s role in some of the most challenging circumstances is well regarded by the nation. Their contribution during the nation’s response to COVID-19 pandemic has been highly praiseworthy. @IAF_MCC pic.twitter.com/ZHazrYc6gG
Indian Air Force Chief Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria said, the force was well prepared to counter short-term and strategic threats and that the units were evenly poised to counter any aggressive action by an adversary.
In one of the worst border incidents with China in recent years, India saw 20 soldiers, including an officer, killed on 15 June. There were also unverified casualties on the Chinese side.
Both countries have held several rounds of discussions at both the commander and the diplomatic level, but both sides remain in forward positions along the LAC, the loosely demarcated de facto border between the two sides..
Lingering border disputes between the two Asian giants have resulted in several clashes – the first Indo-Chinese war in 1962 and a limited war in 1967 and two standoffs, the first in Doklam in 2017 and the latest one in eastern Ladakh.
The India-China border covers the 3,488 km-long LAC, which is mainly a land border, but in Pangong Tso in Eastern Ladakh it passes through a lake. India controls the western portion of the 45-km long lake, while the rest is under Chinese control. Most of the clashes between the two countries have taken place in the Galwan Valley.