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9/11 sets up air conclave

New Delhi, Jan. 28: The Indian Air Force is hosting a meet that is likely to be the largest gathering of chiefs of air forces from around the world under one roof.

Pakistan has not been invited.

A total of 37 chiefs of air forces have confirmed they will be in New Delhi on February 4 and 5 for the IAF’s International Aerospace Power Seminar, the official theme for which is “aerospace power in tomorrow’s world”.

But the air force chiefs would be here to discuss cases “for using air power collectively”, an IAF source said. The use of air power collectively is being envisaged as a defensive measure to prevent recurrence of a 9/11. “With civilian aircraft also being used as weapons, air forces around the world have to collectively guard air space and prevent its use by terrorists,” the source said.

The air chiefs would fly to Bangalore after the seminar in New Delhi for Aero India 2007, the air show hosted in India once every two years — that is billed as the largest of its kind. With the IAF’s order for 126 multi-role combat aircraft tantalising global aviation companies, air forces are curious on its expansion and replacement programmes.

The US will send not only the chief of its air force but also the chief of its Pacific Command air force to the seminar.

Among the countries that have confirmed their air chiefs will attend are Afghanistan, China, the Czech Republic, UK, Singapore, Israel, Spain, South Africa, Sri Lanka, France and Germany.

Pakistan has not been invited as the Indian and Pakistani military establishments are not ready yet despite confidence-building measures to institutionalise exchanges at any level that might require reciprocal arrangements.

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