Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Tuesday said that the force will use the hotline to communicate with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in case of any airspace violations.
“We will utilize the Indian Armed Force hotline to speak with the Chinese in the event of any airspace infringement or different issues,” Chaudhari said in New Delhi.
He was interacting with reporters at a press conference ahead of IAF Day to be observed in Chandigarh on October 8.
His comments came nearly three months after Chinese fighter jets breached the Indian airspace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) while taking part in their annual exercises. In response, India had to scramble its fighter planes to ward off the breach in the last week of June.
In August, India raised the issue of airspace violations with the Chinese during Confidence Building Measures (CBM) talks reportedly held in eastern Ladakh.
As per reports, an IAF representative discussed ways to better establish an understanding to manage airspace and avoid airspace violations.
According to the 1996 ‘Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the LAC in India-China Border Area’, fighter aircraft and armed helicopters of India and China shall not fly within 10 km of the LAC.
“Air activity across LAC is continuously monitored by us. Whenever we find Chinese aircraft coming a little too close to the LAC, then, we take appropriate measures by scrambling our fighters and putting our systems on high alert. This has deterred them,” the IAF chief had said at that time.
Giving an update on the disengagement along the LAC announced by India and China, the IAF chief said that New Delhi is “keeping an eye on Chinese Air Force activities”.
“We have increased the presence of radars and air defence networks. Appropriate non-escalator measures have been taken in time,” he added.
He also asserted that the force is prepared for the worst-case scenario and focuses on increasing its strength in cyber and space domains.
Chaudhari hoped that the newly-inducted Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) ‘Prachand’ will add “teeth to the IAF’s strike capability”.
“We are looking forward to inducting LCA Mk 1A, HTT-40 Mentors, indigenous weapons and radars,” he informed.
India and China have held 16 rounds of Corps leader-level discussions between them to de-escalate the situation and tension which began after the Chinese attempted to adjust the state of affairs along the LAC in 2020.
Both sides have announced to resolve three friction points in eastern Ladakh and have held discussions to find solutions for the Hot Springs area.