12:16 GMT18 May 2021
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    The Indian Air Force has been operating at its lowest combat strength in more than a decade. It is down to 33 squadrons as against a mandated 42 squadrons needed for a simultaneous and collusive two-front war scenario with Pakistan and China.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Air Force (IAF) has said that the current shortage of fighter jets would not impede its preparedness for a two-front war with Pakistan and China. The IAF is currently facing a shortage of at least 9 squadrons of fighter jets.

    "We need the strength of 42 squadrons to carry out full spectrum operations, but it doesn't mean we can't fight a two-front scenario. There is a Plan B," Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said at a press conference ahead of Air Force Day on October 8.

    While the current number of combat aircraft with India matches more or less with that of Pakistan, China is in possession of a much higher number.

    "It is not what China has got; it is what they can project against us. It is what they can bring in to Tibet… our capability is adequate," the Indian air chief marshal explained.

    The Indian Air Force is presently facing a severe shortage of more than 200 fighter jets. Twenty-four combat aircrafts were grounded due to accidents that occurred in the last three years. "Our losses during peacetime are cause for concern. We are making concentrated efforts to minimize accidents & preserve our assets," Dhanoa said.

    Nevertheless, the Indian air chief marshal has denied the possibility of a two-front war in the current geopolitical situation. "Our response should be based on [the] enemy's capability because intentions can change overnight," he added.


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