Friday, December 1, 2023

“Russia-Ukraine War Didn’t Affect India Badly”, Says Air Marshal Vibhas Pande

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Air Marshal Vibhas Pande, the Chief of Maintenance Command for the Indian Air Force, commented on Thursday regarding the impact of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict on the global supply chain. He stated that due to significant indigenization efforts within the Indian Air Force, the conflict has not severely affected the country.

Pande highlighted the presence of inherent capabilities, such as the indigenous manufacture of the Su-30 aircraft by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited), and the indigenization of essential equipment required for the Su-30’s operation, especially for day-to-day needs. He noted that this indigenization has mitigated the adverse effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the Indian Air Force.

Discussing the challenges posed by the conflict on the supply chain, Pande mentioned that approximately 40 percent of the inventory for fighter aircraft and other aircraft in the Indian Air Force is sourced from conflict zones. This includes aircraft like the An-32, which is from Ukraine, and support for Russian fleets, such as the Mi-17 fleet.

However, Pande clarified that in terms of design or structural issues, India may still rely on support from Russia or Ukraine, and the conflict could potentially impact this aspect. Nevertheless, he emphasized that the Indian Air Force’s indigenization efforts, which began during the dissolution of the USSR, have significantly bolstered the country’s self-reliance.

Pande underscored the Indian Air Force’s commitment to self-reliance in the face of challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He expressed gratitude for the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has supported efforts to source nearly 90 percent of consumables from indigenous suppliers, addressing maintenance and supply concerns.

Regarding recent emergency procurements, Pande mentioned that they became necessary following events like the Balakot airstrikes in 2019 and the eastern Ladakh standoff in 2020. While there were initial supply setbacks due to the ongoing conflict, Pande noted that these challenges have been overcome.

Air Marshal Vibhas Pande made these remarks while participating in an air display in Bhopal ahead of the upcoming Air Force Day celebration on October 8. The purpose of the air show was to inspire and engage youth, encouraging them to consider careers in the Air Force and fostering curiosity about the challenges and opportunities it offers.

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