We know little about China's combat capability: IAF chief

Last Updated: Wed, May 27, 2009 12:30 hrs

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New Delhi: Little is known about China's "actual capability" in the defence sector, Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said Wednesday, as he clarified his previous remarks that Beijing was the biggest threat to India.

"I meant to say that we know very little about the actual capability of the country... You do not want to be threat-centric, you want to be capability-based," Major said here.

While asserting that IAF was placed "very well" vis-a-vis China, the IAF chief said: "We need to improve our combat edge.

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"We certainly have plans to improve infrastructure in the northeastern region. We are in the process of developing four-five airfields and advance landing grounds and put our assets there. Soon we will be moving our one squadron of Sukhois (combat jets) to the northeast," Major added.

In an interview to a newspaper, the IAF chief had said earlier this week that in the wake of its military expansion, China is a "bigger threat" than Pakistan.

A K Antony, immediately after taking charge as defence minister Monday, said his ministry had taken note of the rapid development of infrastructure by China on its side of the border.

"Infrastructure development in the northeast and other border areas (and) modern equipment in coastal areas is more important and will require fast track procurement," he had said.

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"India wants to have friendly relations with all its neighbours. We have to not only maintain but improve relations with China. At the same time, we have to be eternally prepared for any challenges to our security," Antony had said.

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