Citing Balakot air strike, Air Chief says air power has opened up response options for the leadership

Air Chief Marshal V. R. Chaudhari was speaking at the Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh seminar organised by the Centre for Air Power Studies.

Updated - April 18, 2023 08:58 pm IST

Published - April 18, 2023 03:18 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Air Chief Marshal V. R. Chaudhari. File

Air Chief Marshal V. R. Chaudhari. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Operations such as Balakot have also demonstrated that given the political will, air power can be effectively used in ‘no war no peace situation’ under the nuclear overhang without escalating into a full-blown conflict and has opened up options for the leadership, said Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) V. R. Chaudhari on Tuesday while stating that to see first and see clearly, to reach first and reach farthest and to strike first and strike with precision will be the mantra for fighting modern wars.

“This is very important due to the nature of our adversaries. The response options available to the leadership have suddenly increased and increasingly air power has become an option of choice due to inherent flexibility and unmatched precision strike capability. Aerospace control and dominance will become a crucial factor in future battlespace operations,” ACM Chaudhari said speaking at the Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh seminar organised by the Centre for Air Power Studies.

Further he said that India’s security concerns necessitate that it puts in place adequate military power that has the ability to “achieve deterrence, ensure information dominance, coerce when needed and provide multiple response options.”

The foremost lesson that can be drawn from the 20th century and the early 21st century is that no war can be successfully prosecuted without aerospace power, the Air Chief stated. “Attributes of aerospace power enable the leadership to formulate an appropriate strategy with due cognizance given to the desired end state, conflict termination criteria and escalation matrix.”

If the world is becoming increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, we must build counter, ACM Chaudhari said while noting that it must be acknowledged that wars of the future will be fought differently. Adversaries will use both lethal as well as non-lethal weapons and wars will be fought across multiple domains and will not distinguish combatants and non-combatants, he stated.

“Future battlespace will be very complex with very high dependence on technology, asymmetric nature of threats, expanded battle spaces, high tempo of operations, enhanced lethality, compressed sensor to shooter cycles, and of course media scrutiny.”

The right lessons from Pulwama and Balakot

In this regard, he elaborated on what air power brings to the table. “Attributes of high speed, reduced response time, long reach, increased mobility, technological intensity, reduced response time, Precision firepower, shock effect, ability to operate across domains and network centric operations make air power have made aerospace power formidable component of a nation’s military might,” the Air Chief noted.

The seminar is an ode to late Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh who was the Air Chief when the IAF saw action in 1965. He was only 44 when entrusted with the responsibility of leading the force. He was made Marshal of the IAF in 2002.

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