Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria on Wednesday said that the quick deployment of Indian Air Force assets during the standoff with China in Ladakh and support to the Indian Army had shown its “resolve, operational capability and the will to effectively engage the adversary” should the need arise, PTI reported.

“I would like to commend all our air warriors for the quick response in the recent standoff on our northern frontiers when we deployed our combat assets at short notice to handle any eventuality and provided proactive support to all the requirements of deployment and sustenance for the Indian Army,” Bhadauria said on the occasion of the Air Force Day. He was addressing a parade at Hindon air base in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.

Military heads of India and China have engaged in several rounds of talks over the last three months after 20 Indian and unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed in violent clashes in Galwan Valley in June. But these talks have so far failed to break the impasse.

In his address, the IAF chief said that the evolving matrix of eastern Ladakh was getting complex, according to The Hindu. The problems ranged from “aspirational adversaries” investing in military arsenal to those “collusively supported by non-state actors, apart from sub-conventional threats emanating from terrorism and cyberspace”. He added the threat in the sub-conventional domain was because of easy access to low-cost options such as drones and use of disruptive technologies.

Bhadauria said the IAF was undergoing a transformational change, ANI reported. “We are entering an era which will redefine where we employ aerospace power and conduct integrated multi-domain operations,” he added.

The IAF chief also said spoke about the coronavirus pandemic and said the year has been an unprecedented one. He said that the country’s response to tackle the pandemic was firm. “The tenacity and resolve of our air warriors ensured that IAF continued to retain its capability to undertake full-scale operations throughout this period,” he said.

Meanwhile, the recently-inducted Rafale fighter aircraft made their debut during the parade. The aircraft led the “Vijay” formation accompanied by two Mirage 2000 and Jaguars jets.

Fifty-six aircraft took part in the parade, including 19 helicopters, 19 fighters, seven transport aircraft, seven aircraft of the Suryakiran aerobatic team and two vintage aircraft. Nineteen aircraft were airborne as standby. An “Eklavya” formation comprising Mi-35 and Ah-64 Apache helicopters was done for the first time. Eleven aircraft and two defence systems, Akash and Rohini, were kept on static display on the ground.

Bhadauria also presented distinguished service medals and unit citations to force personnel and units. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh attended the celebrations.