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China has prepared itself for a long winter in Ladakh: IAF Chief

Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria has said that China is preparing itself for the long haul along the India China border in eastern Ladakh. He added that there seems to be no warning of a collusive threat from China and its all-weather ally Pakistan.

The Air Force chief stressed that the next three winter months will depend on how talks between India and China progress. “The current progress is slow, what we see is an effort to dig in for the winter. We are taking action accordingly. Our further action will depend on the ground realities," Bhadauria said.

He added that India realized in May that the border situation was not normal. India knows that the Chinese troops conduct military exercises at this time of the year. However, "we never expected them to move towards the border. But both the Indian Army and the IAF responded quickly and in record time," he added.

The chief was emphatic that China cannot get the better of India in any conflict and the force is fully prepared to take on any adversary. "We have deployed strongly in eastern Ladakh. Under no circumstances can the Chinese get the better of us," he said during the annual press conference in Delhi.

Bhadauria added that there was no moment where the force came close to an air strike in the last five months of stand-off with China but the force is fully prepared.

He said that the force's immediate offensive deployment of combat ready units in response to the stand-off is indicative of the operational state today. "We are determined to handle any contingency – undoubtedly our capability and intent would deter," said Bhadauria adding, "Our airlift capability was also brought into focus as we supported the Indian Army in rapid mobilisation of troops and equipment to operational area at a pace which our adversary didn't expect."

Regarding American positioning in the South China Sea, the IAF chief said: "We will have to fight our own wars. No one else will fight it for us."

IAF Chief said that the matrix of threat is complex, ranging from aspirational adversaries with huge investments in military arsenal, to those collusively fronted by non-state actors, apart from sub-conventional threats emanating from terrorism and cyberspace. He added that the emerging threat from a hostile neighbour obligates us to be ready with the entire spectrum of warfare.

"Disturbing technologies and low-cost options like drones are making the threat picture even more complex, particularly in the sub-conventional domain," he added. Looking at the threats, Bhadauria said that the IAF is changing at a rapid pace and over the years and has grown from being a tactical force to a strategic one with trans-oceanic range..