IAF ready to deal with China and Pakistan simultaneously

DAINIK NATION BUREAU

Giving enough hint on ongoing tension between Chinese and Indian troops in Doklam, Air chief Marshal BS Dhanoa has categorically said that the Indian Air Force is capable of effectively countering any threat from China and Pakistan simultaneously in a two-front war.

Noting that the Chinese troops were currently present in the Chumbi Valley in the Dokalam Plateau, the IAF chief said a peaceful resolution of the issue would be in the interest of both the countries.

“The two sides are not in a physical face-off as we speak. However, their forces in Chumbi Valley are still deployed and I expect them to withdraw as their exercise in the area gets over,” Dhanoa told reporters ahead of IAF Day, which is marked on October 8.

Indian and Chinese troops were locked in an over two- month-long standoff after India stopped the construction of a road by China in Dokalam in the Sikkim sector on June 16. Asked about concerns over Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons and whether the IAF would be able to disarm Islamabad of its nuclear arsenals if necessary, Dhanoa said his force had the capability of locating, fixing and striking across the border.

Asserting that the IAF was capable of a two-front war to counter China and Pakistan, he, however, said the possibility of such a scenario was “low”. At the same time he added that India’s response had to be based on the enemy’s capability as intentions could change overnight.

We need a strength of 42 squadrons to carry out full spectrum operations in a two-front (war) scenario. It does not mean that we are not capable of fighting a two-front (war) as we speak. We have a plan B, Dhanoa said.

In September this year Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat had said that the country should be prepared for a two-front war, insisting that China had started flexing its muscles, while there seemed to be no scope for a reconciliation with Pakistan whose military and polity saw an adversary in India.

Currently, the IAF has 33 fighter squadrons and Dhanoa said the force would get the authorised strength of 42 fighter squadrons by 2032.

Asked whether the IAF was ready for a surgical strike across the border, he said it was ready to deal with any challenge and a call on such an operation would have to be taken by the government.

Surgical strike is a decision that has to be taken by the government. The IAF has the capability to carry out the full spectrum of air operations. A war-like situation may arise if the IAF crossed the border.

On whether the IAF provided any support to the Army for the surgical strike last year and during the Dokalam face-off, the IAF chief said that Whatever was asked from the air force was provided. He refused to share further details.

However, IAS Chief said air force is prepared to fight at a short notice in full synergy with the other two sister services should the need arise. He stressed that the force was in a high state of readiness to fight a war.

About a possible confrontation with China, he said India’s air power was adequate. At the same time, he talked about what China could or could not do from Tibet.

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