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Sitharaman inaugurates Air Force Commanders’ Conference


New Delhi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday inaugurated the first edition of 2018 Air Force Commanders’ Conference here, where the top echelons will discuss the operational, maintenance and administrative takeaways identified during the ‘Gaganshakti Exercise’ and the way ahead. Chief of Air Force Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa briefed the minister on the current status of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and on Exercise ‘Gagan Shakti', which was conducted in April this year. He highlighted that the exercise was very fruitful in testing IAF’s surge operations capability, logistics supply chain, rapid augmentation of personnel, inter theatre move of forces, communication network and reliability of equipment & systems. Appreciating the air warriors for successful completion of the exercise, Ms Sitharaman said, “The focus of Exercise ‘Gagan Shakti' was to draw lessons for evolving the doctrinal loop which is an ongoing process. It was a landmark exercise for IAF.” She also complimented the IAF for a leadership role in jointmanship which was evident during the exercise and congratulated the Army and Navy for supporting the Air Force in achieving the objectives of ‘Gagan Shakti’. While laying down her vision for contribution of the IAF towards indigenisation, she emphasised that being a tech intensive service the IAF should pioneer in laying the roadmap for absorption and production of high end aviation technology products in India and propel India’s growth in these sectors as envisaged in government’s ‘Make in India’ policy in the next 15 years. She also commended the IAF for the key role played by it in nation building by way of promoting regional connectivity by rendering support towards the UDAN scheme.The Service has opened up several of its airfields for civil aircraft operations in furtherance of the scheme.The conference would conclude on Friday.

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