There is a shortage of 274 pilots in the Army and the Navy, the government today informed the Lok Sabha. In a written response to a question, Subhash Bhamre, minister of state in the defence ministry, said the sanctioned strength of pilots in the Army is 794, while it has 192 vacant posts. The Navy has a sanctioned strength of 735 pilot and has 82 vacant posts.
“There is a marginal shortage of pilots in Indian Air Force against the authorised establishment. However, the available strength in the IAF is sufficient to meet the current operational requirements,” he said.
On a question whether the Navy has decided to increase its watch over Indian Ocean, Bhamre said the geo-strategic importance of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has seen a gradual increase in the recent past.
“The Indian Navy closely monitors the maritime areas if our interest and regularly deploys ships for Presence and Surveillance Missions (PSM), off critical choke points/ sea lanes in the IOR,” he said.
In response to another question, Bhamre said the Navy does not undertake joint monitoring of the Indian Ocean in cooperation with other foreign countries.
Replying to another question, the minister said the government has identified 73 roads as “strategic Indo-China Border Roads” (ICBRs), out of which 34 roads are completed and in the remaining 39 ICBRs, work in progress.
He added that the government has taken measures to expedite the construction of border roads in the states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarkhand and has constituted an Empowered Committee to resolve the issues pertaining to BRO.
He added that 22,225.17 km road has been entrusted to the Border Roads Organisation, of which 7,122 km is in Jammu and Kashmir, 5,267 kms in Arunchal Pradesh.
In response to another question whether there has been an increase in Chinese transgressions over the last one year or so, Bhamre said there is no commonly delineated Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the border areas of between India and China.
“There are areas along the LAC where both sides have differing perception of LAC. Due to this, both sides undertake patrolling up to their perception of the LAC and as a result transgressions do occur,” he said.