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PoK Continues to be a “Thorn in Our Flesh”, Says Air Force Chief

Raha rued that air power had not been fully utilised by the Indian government till the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Updated
India
2 min read
PoK continues to be a “thorn in our flesh” said Indian Air Force air chief marshal Arup Raha. (Photo: AP)

Indian Air Force Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Thursday indicated that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) would have been India’s had the country gone for a military solution rather than taking a “moral high ground”.

Raha also rued that air power had not been fully utilised by the Indian government till the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

India as a country was “reluctant” to use military power, especially air power, in deterring adversaries, in deterring a conflict and when involved in conflict the country has been drawn into several times in the past.
Arup Raha, Chief Marshal, Indian Air Force
India failed to follow a “pragmatic approach” to security needs. (Photo: PTI)
India failed to follow a “pragmatic approach” to security needs. (Photo: PTI)

Pakistan Occupied Kashmir a “Thorn in our Flesh”

Recalling India’s partition in 1947, Raha said that while the Pakistani “raiders” tried to overrun the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Army was not strong enough to hold ground and it was the “Indian Air Force’s transport wing which came to the help and retrieved the situation”.

Further he said that India’s failed to follow a “pragmatic approach” to security needs and that PoK continues to be a “thorn in our flesh”.

And when a military solution was in sight, taking moral high ground, I think we went to UN for a peaceful solution to this problem. The problem still continues. PoK remains a thorn in our flesh today.
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Air Power Under-Utilised Due to “Political Reasons”

Stating instances where the air power wasn’t fully utilised, Raha said that in 1962, during the Chinese aggression air power went under-utilised because of the fear of a skirmish. Further he added:

In 1965 conflict, we did not use air power against East Pakistan because of political reasons despite Pakistani Air Force operating from East Pakistan attacking our air bases, infrastructure, aircraft on ground. We had severe setbacks but we never retaliated due to political reasons.
The IAF chief said the only time when air power was fully utilised was in 1971 war. (Photo: Reuters)
The IAF chief said the only time when air power was fully utilised was in 1971 war. (Photo: Reuters)

The IAF chief said the only time when air power was fully utilised was in 1971 war and the three forces blended completely resulting in the creation of Bangladesh.

We have been governed by high ideals and we really did not follow a very pragmatic approach, to my mind, to security needs. To that extent, we did ignore the role of the military power to maintain a conducive environment.
Arup Raha, Chief Marshal, Indian Air Force

However he did conclude by saying that the “situation has changed” and that India was “ready to use air power to defend ourselves and deter a conflict”.

Source: ANI, PTI

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