Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the Air Force should focus on developing strategies to deal with future challenges facing India and lauded all air warriors for giving the country the most competent and combat worthy force.
Mr Singh inaugurating a two-day conference of top commanders of the IAF.
"I urge the IAF commanders to use the conference for developing strategies against future challenges and enhancing IAF's capability. The IAF is growing steadily towards becoming a truly strategic aerospace power," the defence minister said.
"I praise the IAF for its professionalism and laud all air warriors and their families for giving us the most competent and combat worthy force. The IAF has proven itself time and again. It has earned the respect of foreign air forces," Mr Singh said.
The defence minister said India is strengthening its defence capability through increased domestic production and reducing dependence on import of military hardware.
"We have to seize new opportunities for indigenous design and development and I appreciate the IAF's effort in this regard," he said.
On the first day of the conference, the commanders also deliberated extensively on the need for focussing IAF's capability in the field of space, cyber, artificial intelligence and drone technology, the officials said.
It also held detailed discussions on the evolving security scenario in India's immediate neighbourhood and beyond with a focus on boosting the IAF's operational capability in the short and long term.
At the conference, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria highlighted the need for continuous enhancement of in-house maintenance capabilities and optimum utilisation of new inductions in order to make the IAF a formidable combat force.
He also stressed on the need for enhanced joint training with the Indian Army as well as the Indian Navy for fostering jointmanship and ensuring national security.