Vimarsha: Talk by Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, VM, ADC, on ‘Role of Indian Air Force in the Changing Security Environment’,
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The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) invited Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, VM, ADC, Chief of Air Staff, for a public discourse on “The Role of Indian Air Force (IAF) in the Changing Security Environment” The talk was organised under the aegis of Vimarsha, a platform offered by the VIF to enable eminent persons, academicians, media personnel et al to engage directly with policy thinkers over a wide range of contemporary and historical issues.

In sync with the VIF’s broader objective of nudging debates on issues of critical importance to India, as also to encourage well-informed citizenry on such issuea, the VIF had planned to organise a series of lectures on the roles of the Indian Army, IAF and the Indian Navy in changing security environment, to be delivered by each of three Services’ Chiefs over three Vimarsha sessions. While General Bipin Rawat, and Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa have already addressed at the VIF, Admiral Sunil Lamba, Chief of the Naval Staff, is slated to speak on 23 May 2018.

In a scintillating talk, followed up with a free-flowing interactive session, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa, besides detailing out the role and capabilities of the IAF, also delved into India’s evolving spectrum of threat. The IAF, the fourth largest Air Force in the world, is also the largest among Asian democracies, with wide ranging operational capabilities. The Air Chief stressed upon the vitality of air power in winning modern wars; earlier wars could be won without having to win on the air front, but today situations have changed and winning on the air is as much essential as winning on waters and land. The output of surface forces also gets enhanced by air surveillance and air mobility provided by air power. Therefore, air capabilities are indispensable in the present day and age, he pointed out. The Air Chief stressed on the IAF’s increasing capabilities to engage in a full spectrum war, besides its increasing presence in humanitarian and disaster relief operations in areas far and wide across the Indo-Pacific.

The IAF’s recently concluded Exercise ,Gagan Shakti was the biggest air exercise in decades. It was monitored closely by the Chinese. There was no violations of airspace from any side, the Chief underscored. Speaking of Pakistan’s hostile acts against India, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa stressed on developing capabilities to deter Pakistan’s behavior. He expected nothing from Pakistan to mend its ways on its own. India’s troublesome neighbour across the western border intends to keep the Kashmir issue unresolved to draw international attention as well as use it as a contention for proxy war against India. Pakistan’s military has substantial control over the state activities, the IAF’s Chief stated.

Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa also stated that the IAF has undertaken to upgrade security of air installations and post the URI-attack is training its personnel in tackling unfavourable situations and terrorist attacks. He believed that upgrading and modernising weaponry and equipment was necessary to keep pace with technology as well as the acquisition of deadly weapons by states hostile to India. The enhanced warfighting capabilities of the Air Force is demonstrated by the fact that through refueling in Pune, the IAF fighters can sufficiently engage the enemy in the north. He cleared the apparent misconception that the IAF does not need fourth generation aircraft, while explaining acquisitions of similar platforms by the adversaries.

Joint command allows for joint planning and therefore, careful and calculated decision making in wartime. Accordingly, the IAF has advance headquarters in every command, and proper communication among different commands has resulted in improved defence of the country. The entire system has been revamped since some vulnerabilities were exposed in the 1965 war and during the late 60’s. The IAF Chief stressed that our communications must be robust and active. We must have eyes and ears on the enemy territory and have precision strike capability.

The address by the Air Force Chief was very well received by the audience who indulged in a free-wheeling interactive session after the presentation.

Event Date 
April 26, 2018

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