BANGALORE: In a clear message to the Indian Ocean Region amidst a continuing border row with China, India has said that it is a reliable military partner for like-minded nations and is well poised to take on a net security provider role, given the reach of its armed forces and the focus on the development of indigenous weapon systems.

Besides showcasing a range of weapon systems that can be shared with friendly foreign nations, the Defence Minister and Air Force Chief spoke about the significant strike range that currently exists with the armed forces, deep into the IOR.

Speaking at a conference of air force chief’s at the ongoing Aero India show, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that India is a “reliable partner in the IOR and can take on the role of being the net security provider in the region”. His words were echoed by Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, who said that the air force is “central to the peace, stability and security in this region”.

The remarks come ahead of a conclave of IOR defence ministers on Thursday which is expected to see participation from 28 nations. Referring to demonstrations by the air force to simulate a Brahmos missile strike, using the Su-30MKI platform, Singh said that Indian expertise in undertaking long-range offensive operations are `unmatched in the region’.

“IAF is at the forefront of offensive capability with its reach, precision and range…with the integration of indigenous standoff weapons, it can carry out precise strike missions over a large distance, even 3000 km away from the mainland,” the Defence Minister said.

The Air Chief said that IAF would be a crucial enabler of peace in the region and welcomed engagements for ‘sustainable Air Operations in response to any situation that requires cooperative action’. “International cooperation can be created by enthusiastic forward-thinking planners, but they need to be backed by credible and appropriate military power,” the Air Chief said.

Both the defence minister and air chief made it clear that India’s power projection would come from homegrown weapon systems, referring to the Light Combat Aircraft, the Light Combat Helicopter and a range of missiles and standoff weapon systems.