New Delhi: India’s Balakot operation in 2019 demonstrated that given the political will, aerospace power can be effectively used in a ‘no war, no peace’ scenario, under a nuclear overhang, without escalating the situation into a full-blown conflict, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said on Tuesday.
The Chief of the Air Staff made the comments at a seminar while highlighting the critical importance of India’s air power considering the nature of its adversaries, in an apparent reference to Pakistan and China.
Talking about the key advantage that superior airpower can provide in a conflict situation, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said “to reach first and reach farthest and to strike first and strike with precision will be the mantra for fighting modern wars.” The IAF Chief said the air power has become an option of choice due to “inherent flexibility” and “unmatched” precision strike capability.
“Operations like Balakot have also demonstrated that given the political will, aerospace power can be effectively used in a no war, no peace scenario, under a nuclear overhang without escalating into a full blown conflict,” he said.
“This is very important given 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,” the IAF chief said.
India’s war planes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26, 2019 in response to the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari was speaking at the Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh Memorial seminar on Aerospace Power: Pivot to Future Battlespace Operations.
“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,” Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said.
“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,” he said.
The Air Chief Marshal said battlespace transparency, enhanced rapid mobility and pin point precision capability will be the key to success and India’s capability development plans must address these issues.
“If the world is increasingly becoming volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, it is high time that we develop counters,” he said.
“We must evolve to counter the volatile with stability and calmness that comes from good strategy formulation and training in an environment of denial,” he said.
The IAF Chief said that considering the advantages that the aerospace power offers, it will become a crucial factor in future battlespace operations.
To be able to control the airspace across domains will prove vital in the future and in order to achieve that, he said.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said there is a need to harness technology including the CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductors) sensors, Artificial Intelligence enabled decision support matrix and manned-unmanned teaming.
He said next generation fighter aircraft will prove to be a deciding factor when fighting “tomorrow’s wars”.
“One aspect that deserves a special mention is the humans in the chain. Any amount of automation will not be effective unless we have well-trained, situationally-aware and technologically sound professionals handling our systems,” the IAF Chief said. “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,” he added.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said the future battlespace will be increasingly complex and will be characterised by heavy dependence on technology.
“We must acknowledge that the wars of the future will be fought differently. Adversaries will use lethal as well as non-lethal weapons, wars will be fought across multiple domains and will not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants,” the IAF chief said.
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