Extending IAF's role against Maoists is Govt decision: Naik



Hyderabad: Air Chief Marshal P V Naik on Saturday said that IAF has engaged helicopters in transportation of security forces and surveillance purpose in some Maoist-hit areas and it was up to the Government to decide on its further role against the rebels.

"Four IAF helicopters have been doing the job for the last 6-8 months in some of the Maoist-infested areas after the Ministry of Home Affairs asked us in this regard," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Combined Graduation Parade of flight cadets of IAF at the Air Force Academy at Dundigal here.

"We have been carrying out casualty evacuation, observation, recee and transfer of troops in forest areas near Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh. These are some of the roles IAF is doing in the Maoist-hit areas and at present we don't envisage undertaking any other roles.

"It is up to the government and they will decide on what (more) roles to undertake," Naik, said when asked if IAF had any plans to actively participate in the operation against the Naxals.

Earlier, he asked the newly commissioned officers to acquire full understanding and knowledge of application of new technology to exploit the true potential of Aerospace Power.

"The coming decade is likely to see even more rapid changes in weapon technology and its delivery which is going to determine the security of skies of our country," he said.

A total of 171 flight cadets comprising 39 women cadets passed out of Air Force Academy and joined the mainstream of IAF in their respective branches. Four officers from Indian Navy and one officer from Indian Coast Guard also received the flying brevet at the Combined Graduation Parade.

Flying Officer Nandeep CS, who commanded the parade was awarded the President's Plaque and Chief of Air Staff Sword of Honour for standing first in overall order of merit in Pilot Course.

Flying Officer P Radhakrishnan was awarded the President's Plaque for standing first in overall order of merit in Ground duties branch. Flying Officer Satish Kumar J was awarded the President's Plaque for standing first in overall order in merit in Navigation branch.

The Parade was followed by a traditional fly past by Chetak helicopters, Kiran-Mk I, An-32, Dornier and newly inducted Hawk Aircraft besides acrobatic manoeuvres of Sarang Aerobatic team and outstanding display by Sukhoi-30 Fighter Aircraft, that kept the audience spell-bound.

PTI