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At IAF commanders meet, Defence Minister praises 'flawless execution' of Balakot operation

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Sitharaman on Thursday complimented the for its "flawless execution" of the February 26 operation and subsequent thwarting of the Pakistani response as she addressed top IAF commanders here.

Sitharaman, in her inaugural speech at the two-day IAF conference, also commended Wing Abhinandan Varthaman, who had become the face of the conflict between the two nations.

of B S Dhanoa emphasised on further enhancing the IAF's capability in the field of space, cyber, and to further boost its overall combat capability.

The IAF said the commanders will deliberate on a range of issues including the "successful strike over Balakot" and the subsequent Pakistani air action on February 27, besides exploring ways to enhance India's air power capability in the short and long term.

"The complimented the IAF and its air warriors for achieving and maintaining the highest standards of professionalism in the service of the nation. She praised the IAF for its flawless execution of the strikes and subsequent thwarting of the Pakistani response," the IAF said.

On February 26, carried out an aerial strike on a terrorist training camp of the terror group in Pakistan's Balakot, in response to Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

Air Force retaliated the next day by trying to target military installations but it was repulsed. The PAF downed a Bison in an aerial combat besides capturing IAF Varthaman, who was handed over to on March 1. Varthaman had shot down an of before his Mig21 Bison was hit.

Sitharaman said the IAF has proved its mettle during last year's exercise Gagan Shakti and Vayu Shakti drills in February and the same was reflected in the successfully conducted of the strike and the air action on February 27, IAF said in a statement.

"She expressed great appreciation for the training imparted to all personnel in the IAF as reflected in the actions and conduct of Wing Abhinandan," it added.

Sitharaman stressed on a proactive role of the IAF in the Region and called for enhancing defence cooperation with countries of the region.

She also asked the force to look at bringing latest technologies available across the world and those that can be developed within India, in order to meet its needs.

"She added that she is aware of the critical requirements projected by the IAF and assured that as a nation we need to build those capabilities," the IAF said.

Sitharaman said the IAF will play a vital role in enhancing the of through its acquisitions under the strategic partnership model.

The government unveiled the strategic partnership model in May 2017 under which select private firms were to be roped in to build key military platforms like submarines and fighter jets in India in partnership with global defence majors.

"During the two-day conference, discussions and deliberations will take place in line with the theme of the conference of 'enhancing our operational capability in the short and long term'," the IAF said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, April 11 2019. 19:46 IST