As India and China stand eye to eye along the Current Control Line (LAC) in Ladakh, the Indian Air Force (IAF), with the newly acquired Rafales and the most trusted aircraft – the Su-30 MKI – are fully prepared and even threatening China , in case a war breaks out.
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However, this was not the case in the Indo-China War of 1962 when the IAF was not used. People have often wondered how the use of the Air Force may have changed India’s fate in the war.
Former Army Chief of Staff JJ Singhcalled for declassifying war records in 2007, however, the government is still to hear that call. According to the Army Chief, the rationale behind making it public was that soldiers, military strategists, and historians could learn lessons from these conflicts.
BN Mullick, director of India’s Bureau of Intelligence published a memoir The Chinese Betrayal in 1971 which is considered a “semi-official” account of the conflict.
Atul Yadav, former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, revealed in his column in Outlook India why the Air Force was held during the Indo-China War in 1962, citing Mullick memoirs.
“The use of the Air Force came out on September 18 while discussing the Western Sector where Daulat Beg Oldi, Galwan and Hot Springs were threatened. The air chief strongly opposed army commander General Daulat Singhs’ proposal to withdraw all army posts to focus on Leh and its environs.
He said the IAF had built the Chushul airfield with a lot of trouble and even offered to bomb targets in Western Tibet, on the border with Ladakh if necessary. “The Army Commander withdrew his suggestion when the COAS also disagreed,” he explained.
He further said that Mullik showed in his book that at that time the Chinese Air Force was estimated to be the third largest and strongest Air Force in the world, dragging only behind the US and Russia. “In the absence of any night surveillance in India, their bombers could penetrate as far south as Madras.
While then-Defense Minister Krishna Menon disagreed with Mullik that the Chinese had the MIG-21, Mullck told Menon that the Soviet Union had supplied the MIG-21 not only to China but also to Indonesia.
As a result, the IAF was held hostage so as not to endanger the lives of the soldiers. “After the discussions, it was decided that instead of escalating the war and endangering our important civilian targets such as Calcutta, Kanpur, etc. Compared to which we had no relevant targets in Tibet and the targets in China were beyond the capabilities of the bombers it was better to limit the role of the Air Force in transportation and supply.
Is the IAF prepared now?
Unlike in 1962, the IAF has repeatedly stated in recent months that it is ready for any possible conflict “including a two-front war.”
As tensions between India and China escalated after the Galwan Valley collision in June, resulting in 20 Indian casualties, both sides have tightened security by moving thousands of troops and heavy artillery across the border.
Following the crash, media reports stated that the IAF had moved its fighter jets including Su-30 MKI aircraft, Apache helicopters to escort the bases. It had also relocated its critical front-line assets, including the Mirage 2000 and Jaguar fighter jets fleet to advanced positions where they could fly in at a very short notice to conduct operations.
Chinooks helicopters have also been deployed in and around Leh Air Base to ensure the ability to quickly transport troops and transfer troops across the valley, should such a situation arise there. Medium-lift Mi-17V5 helicopters are also playing an active role in the area in troops and transporting materials there, ANI reported.
The IAF also added to its arsenal Dassault Rafales produced in France. The first group flew from France and landed in India on July 29, however, the induction ceremony took place on September 10 at Ambala Air Base.
Last month, Rafales also began holding family meetings over Ladakh to acclimatize to operational conditions. India is soon hosting the second group of Rafale aircraft and thus further increasing the Indian IAF fleet.
3-4 Rafale fighter jets to join the Indian Air Force in November of the first week
– ANI Digital (@ani_digital) October 16, 2020
This aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radars and other sensors and electronic warfare capabilities are among the best in the world. Her arrival in India will make the IAF much stronger to prevent any threat that may arise in our country, said Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.
Indian Air Chief Marshall BS Dhanoa while questioning the capabilities of Chinese aircraft asked – Why does the Chinese Air Force use Russian Su-30 and Su-35 fighters while facing the US threat in the South China Sea?
The fact is that the Chinese fighters are not compatible with American aircraft. Most Chinese equipment is reverse engineering Russian equipment and the fighters have Su-27 or Su-30 platform designs. They are even powered by Russian engines AL 31 F (Su-30) and RD 33 (MiG-29).
According to a former IAF official speaking to the EurAsian Times, the Chinese may have better and bigger missiles than India, but when it comes to fighter jets, PLAAF has no answer, especially for Rafale missiles armed with missiles. BVR with a large range of 160 km
It is safe to conclude that the tables have been turned this time around and the IAF has come a long way since the 1962 war. of the People (PLA).
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