Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari: India’s newly appointed Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari Friday said that he will ensure the safety of the country’s sovereignty and integrity at any cost by appropriate and correct use of air power.
Chaudhari, who succeeded Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria upon latter’s superannuation, said Indian Air Force personnel has a lot of potential to learn and be ready for future wars.
“My first priority would be to ensure that safety of the nation is assured through the appropriate and correct use of the air power. Secondly, to be able to train, motivate and equip all our personnel to take on challenges of future warfare,” Chaudhari told reporters in New Delhi after assuming the charge as the 27th chief of world’s fourth largest air force.
Chaudhari, a fighter pilot, said the next priority would be to take giant steps towards making the country self-reliant in defence in every aspect.
The top officer, who assumed the charge at a time when Indian military and Chinese PLA are in a tense stand-off for more than one-and-a-half years in Ladakh region, said air warriors were capable and ready to learn more to prepare for future wars.
He said it will be achieved through correct training, correct utilization of manpower and the existing equipment, and the equipment to be acquired in future.
Talking about the air force’s support to the government’s Make in India initiative that aims to boost domestic defence manufacturing, the Chief of Air Staff said the force had already signed the contract for 83 light combat aircraft (LCA Tejas) recently and it will consider the medium combat aircraft (AMCA) and also an upgraded version of Tejas known as LCA-Mk2 in future.
“The surface-to-air guided weapons and a whole lot of other equipment are on the cards. We will ensure that our focus towards Aatmanirbharta (self-reliance) will continue in all our procurement plans,” Chaudhari told reporters.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Chaudhari has commanded a frontline fighter squadron and a fighter base during his career.
He has also held various other positions including the Deputy Commandant, Air Force Academy, Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Air Defence) and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers).
Chaudhari was commissioned in the Air Force in December 1982.