ISLAMABAD Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman said on Saturday a contingency plan was ready to counter any threat to the country's security and made it clear that any misadventure by the adversary would invite a 'massive reaction'.
Speaking at a briefing here at Air Headquarters, he said Pakistan did not harbour aggressive designs against any country, but was capable of beating back any aggressor.
He said Pakistan believed in peace with honour and observed that peace cannot be maintained from a position of weakness.
In reply to a question about the threats of surgical strikes inside Pakistan by India in case of another Mumbai-like terror attack, the PAF chief said “the neighbours know that in case of a sneak attack by them, reaction will be coming within hours”.
He said India would not be able to penetrate deep inside Pakistan's territory, and the most they would do in such a case would be to choose an area near the border for a hit-and-run operation.
He said when the President House received a hoax call from 'the Indian foreign minister' after the Mumbai episode, the Pakistan Air Force identified certain targets across the border.
Air Marshal Qamar Suleman said permission from the government for replying to any aggression had been obtained and preparations made for a matching response.
He said India would not be able to defeat Pakistan in a conventional war.
He said the High Mark 2010 was not aimed against any country, but aimed at evaluating capabilities in an environment where dimensions of threat were changing warranting new concepts. He said the exercise was different in nature from the previous ones because the other two services were also actively taking part in it.
He noted that a future war would be swift and intense and said that is why the high tempo operation with a component of time sensitive targeting was being undertaken.
He said the budget for the exercise had been managed by savings as a result of 20 per cent reduction in flying from June, without asking for additional funds for the mega event from the Government.
Responding to question, he indicated that there was no plan to set up an air base in Azad Kashmir saying that the base in Skardu was sufficient to meet operational requirements of the PAF.
The Air Chief said Pakistan would start receiving 18 F-16 planes paid for it years back from June and the process would be completed by December. He disclosed that the United States had agreed to provide another 14 block 52 F-16s to Pakistan shortly. He said the existing fleet of F-16s would be upgraded in Turkey from September. He said all the F-16s would be upgraded to block 52 by 2014.
He said he said he never wanted a deal with the US for purchase of drones since it would be very expensive, but said it would be welcomed if sensors were provided by the US. He said Pakistan develops its own surveillance drones and would invest in research and development to make its own armed drones if a need was felt.
Earlier Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans) Air Commodore Javed Ahmad briefing reporters on the concept of High Mark 2010 said the primary target was to put to test the high state of combat readiness while gearing up all supporting units and validate the lessons learnt to improve deployment tactics.
He said since international, and domestic situation impinges upon the security calculus, the near realistic exercise was in line with the transformation in PAF's concept of operations. He said new acquisitions had been operationalised in minimum possible time to take part in the exercise that will continue till the mid of May.