The Indian Air Force can counter China and fight a two-front war, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said on Thursday, PTI reported. He did add, however, that the chances of a two-front war are low, The Hindu reported.

“Our response should be based on enemy’s capability because intentions can change overnight,” he said. “It is not what China has got, it is what they can project against us. It is what they can bring in to Tibet... our capability is adequate.” The Air Chief Marshal was speaking at a press conference ahead of Air Force Day, which is on October 8.

“We need a strength of 42 squadrons to carry out full spectrum operations, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight a two-front scenario. There is a Plan B,” he said.

In September, Army chief General Bipin Rawat had said the country should be prepared for a two-front war, insisting that China was “flexing its muscles”, while there seems to be no scope for reconciliation with Pakistan.

On September 20, Pakistan boasted of having developed short-range nuclear weapons to counter India, and India has just emerged from a months-long standoff with China in Doklam, Sikkim. When asked about these recent threats, Air Marshal Dhanoa said the possibility of a two-front war in the current geopolitical scenario is low, but India was prepared to face them, NDTV reported.

Dhanoa said the Indian Air Force will achieve the sanctioned strength of 42 fighter squadrons by 2032.