Last month PM Narendra Modi addressed 70th Independence Day and sent shock waves across Pakistan as he said that people from Balochistan had thanked him for highlighting the atrocities by Pakistan on the people of Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Within a few weeks of his remarks, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha has now said that PoK would have been India’s had the country gone for a military solution rather than taking a “moral high ground”.
“When a military solution was in sight, taking a moral high ground, I think, we went to UN for a peaceful solution to this problem. The problem still continues. PoK remains a thorn in our flesh today,” ACM Raha said at an aerospace seminar.
In unusually candid remarks, he said India has been governed by high ideals and it did not follow a “pragmatic approach” to security needs. The country ignored the role of the military power to maintain conducive environment, he said.
He said India’s security environment is vitiated and aerospace power, as part of the military power, would be required to deter a conflict in the region and also ensure peace and tranquility.
“Our foreign policy was enshrined in the charter of the UN, charter of the Non-Alignment Movement as well as Pancsheel doctrine,” he added.
He said India as a country was “reluctant” to use military power, especially air power, in deterring adversaries, in deterring a conflict and when involved in conflict the country has been drawn into several times in the past.
He said when hordes of raiders attacked Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, it was the transport planes of the IAF which helped Indian soldiers and equipment to reach the battleground.
He recalled air power was under-utilised in 1962 due to fear of a skirmish and in 1965 air power was not used against East Pakistan “because of political reasons”.
The IAF chief said the only time when air power was fully utilised was in 1971 war to create Bangladesh. “But the situation has changed. We are ready to use air power to defend ourselves and deter a conflict,” he said.