Gandhinagar: The Air Chief Marshal PV Naik on Wednesday admitted that India was no match to China when it came to air power.
"Our present aircraft strength is inadequate. Aircraft strength is one third that of China. The Government of India is doing a lot to augment Air Force capability," Naik said.
Interestingly, former Navy chief Suresh Mehta had also, last month, claimed that India is no match to China when it comes to military strength.
He, however, chose to downplay the threat from India’s eastern neighbour amid reported violations of the Indian airspace and territory by Chinese troops.
No imminent threat
Stressing that India must build up its weapons capability to thwart such attempts, Naik said, “There are two ways to look at Chinese incursions. One way is to take up weapons and go to the border. Other way is to build systematic weapons capability to tackle the threat.”
The IAF chief also stressed that there was no imminent threat from the Dragon.
He also refuted reports of violation of airspace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by the Chinese. “As far as Air Force is concerned there are no Chinese incursions,” he said.
Adding that the strategy being adopted by the IAF was to ‘play it cool’ for now.
The IAF Chief’s remarks came a day after China`s Ambassador to India, Zhang Yan met Home Secretary GK Pillai and tried to clarify the picture over the reported border incursions.
The Chinese Ambassador`s meeting came in the wake of repeated assertions by top Indian officials and even the Army Chief that reported incursions in the recent past occurred due to differences in perception of the LAC.
Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh downplayed the incursions amid reports about Beijing`s unhappiness at the way Chinese border transgressions have been reported in the Indian media to conjure up a China threat.
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had also last week stressed that there was "no significant increase" in incursions across all sections of the over 4,000 km border between the two countries.
"Contrary to the popular perception, the situation along the border has remained peaceful for decades," Rao said.
National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor had also cautioned against the media hype and stressed that there was nothing alarming about the reported incursions.