New Delhi: Cautioning that modernisation of
the force cannot be done in "fits and starts", government
today said it will provide all assistance to the Indian Air
Force to meet its growth plans and decrease its dependence on
foreign companies for major aircraft and equipment.
Inaugurating IAF`s bi-annual Commander`s Conference here,
Defence Minister A K Antony said capacity building of the
force is a steady process and government will continue to
support its modernisation during the next three Five Year Plan
"Government is aware of the need to modernize IAF at a
rapid pace and of its long-term plans for capacity building.
Modernisation is a continuous, time-consuming process and
cannot be accelerated in fits and starts," Antony said.
Noting with satisfaction that budget allotted to IAF has
been utilised fully, he said, "We have put in place detailed
procurement procedures, so while a number of procurement
schemes have been finalised, others are being processed for
approval and are in various stages."
Capacity-building of the force involves both upgradation
of existing systems and platforms and our government has taken
several steps in this direction, Antony added.
He reiterated the need for indigenisation in defence
procurement to achieve the goal of self-reliance.
Observing that government is "acutely" aware of the
urgent need to encourage indigenisation and take steps towards
self-reliance in defence production, he said indigenisation
will not only help domestic economy, but will also reduce our
excessive dependence on foreign countries.
He stressed that indigenisation should be encouraged,
"so the IAF need not rely on foreign Original Equipment
Manufacturers (OEMs) for procurement of major aircraft and