New Delhi: Amid heightened threat
perception, the Indian Air Force is planning to deploy fighter
aircraft squadrons in southern parts of the country to tackle
the threat from non-state actors and to secure the sealanes.
"This is in our plans. The first two squadrons of the
Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) would also be based in South India
and squadrons of either the M-MRCA or the Su-30 MKI would also
be based there," IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora told
reporters here on the sidelines of a function here.
He was responding to a question whether the air force
had any plans of deploying its fighter assets in the southern
peninsula in wake of increasing threat from non-state actors
like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and sea pirates.
"The role of IAF would increase in South India and we
are also thinking of increasing our presence in the Andaman
Nicobar Islands also," Barbora said.
The IAF is planning to deploy the first two squadrons
of the LCA in Sulur in Coimbatore district in Tamil Nadu.
Asked about reports that Lashkar and other terror
groups may try to use the sea route to launch attacks against
India, he said, "As far as non-state actors are concerned, we
can`t say when, where and what they will do... If defence
Services are called upon to contribute to efforts to put down
the design of non-state actors, we are always available."
IAF has been strengthening its presence in the South
to protect the country`s interests in the Indian Ocean Region.
With the induction of force multipliers such as the
mid-air refullers, the Air Force has expanded its strategic
reach and is capable of carrying out long range operations.