On the eve of Air Force Day, India’s Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa addressed a press conference in Delhi and said that the IAF has the capability of “locating, fixing and striking” across the border. Dhanoa asserted that the Air Force is ready for a full spectrum but any decision on a surgical strike would be taken by the government. He further said that India is prepared to face a two-front war and is also ready to counter China.
Dhanoa also mentioned that losses during the peace time are a cause of concern for the IAF and that it is making concentrated efforts to minimize accidents and preserve its assets. At the press conference, the Air Chief Marshal said:
Indian Air Force is prepared to fight at short notice, in full synergy with other two sister services should the need arise. We need a strength of 42 squadrons to carry out full spectrum operations, but it doesn’t mean we can’t fight a two-front scenario. There is a Plan B.
It is expected that the Air Force would realize its sanctioned strength of 42 fighter squadrons by 2032.
Last month, Army chief, General Bipin Rawat had said that India should be prepared for a two-front war claiming that China had started “flexing its muscles”. On the other hand, there seemed to be no scope of reconciliation with Pakistan whose military and polity saw India as a rival.
As per report by NDTV, Air Chief was also asked questions pertaining to Pakistan’s recent brags about short-nuclear weapons to take on India and about the stand-off with China in Doklam that ended in August. Responding to the questions, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa maintained that the chances of a two-front war in the geopolitical scenario presently are low.
Referring to the Doklam stand-off, he revealed that the Chinese forces are still present in the Chumbi valley of Tibet, lying to the north of Doklam but they are expected to withdraw in future as their exercises in that area conclude.
He also clarified that there were no air space violations during the two-and-a-half month stand-off in Doklam while Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force maintained its presence on two airfields in the Tibetan plateau. Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa also said:
Both countries are major economic and political powers in the region, I expect them to display maturity in resolving the issues. Peaceful resolution of such issues will be in the interest of both countries and I am confident that at the political and diplomatic level it is being done. The Chinese air force during the summer months always carries out an exercise in Tibet in which their two main airfields were full even during the Doklam operations. They will start clearing out as the weather becomes colder and their exercise gets over. We had a stand-off on the ground but in the air there was no stand-off.
He said that the role of IAF at the time of stand-off was restricted to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and that it is ready for any contingency which may or may not take place.
The video in the tweet below shows Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa’s media address:
— ANI (@ANI) October 5, 2017