<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Integration of Armed Forces in areas like training, communication, logistics and cyber is essential to prepare for any future conflict, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said speaking to top army commanders on Tuesday.Sitharaman said that integration was her top priority, as she promised close monitoring of improvement in strategic infrastructure, long-pending force modification requests, welfare of serving, retired and families, the Army said in a statement.The Army statement also said that during her address, the Minister referred to her visits to the forward areas and said that meeting the troops was eye-opening.”She conveyed the Nation’s admiration for the professionalism of the Indian Army during events like Doklam standoff, response to natural disasters and keeping the situation of insurgency in the North East states fairly under control,” the statement said.Also speaking to Air Force Commanders separately, she said that lack of timely decision-making in the last decade had resulted in gaps in the Indian Air Force and that the government is committed to filling them.”The budgetary allocations should not be viewed as a constraint and should be looked at to acquire what is absolutely necessary,” the Indian Air Force said.She also said that the powers given to the service chiefs should be “fully utilised” in achieving required capabilities of the forces.”She said that the government is committed to fill the gaps which have arisen due to lack of timely decision making in the last decade,” the IAF said in a statement.Currently, the IAF has 33 fighter squadrons against the authorised strength of 42 squadrons. The IAF has been pressing the government to expedite acquisition of combat jets to overcome the shortage.

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Work around budget, says Nirmala Sitharaman