PoK ‘thorn in flesh’, IAF was not used properly: Air Chief Marshal
New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Thursday said Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) could have been India’s part if IAF was used at the right time. Raha said India did not take advantage of the Air Force till the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
Calling PoK as a ‘thorn in our flesh’, Arup Raha said, “Our foreign policy was enshrined in the charter of the UN, charter of the Non-Alignment Movement as well as Panchseel doctrine.”
Addressing a gathering at aerospace seminar here, he said:
- 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 conducive environment.
- In 1947, Pakistani raiders attacked the Kashmir valley; it was Indian Air Force transport planes which helped Indian Army along with weapons to reach the battleground.
- 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.
IAF chief marshal said it was to avoid war that air power was not utilized in 1962.
He blamed political reasons as the major cause for India’s setback and non-retaliation in 1965 war.
"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, and aircraft on ground. We had severe setbacks but we never retaliated," regrets Arup Raha.
He said it was in the 1971 conflict when India used its air power fully resulting the formation of Bangladesh. He added that three forces including Indian Air Force, Indian Army and Indian Navy worked mutually and rest is history.
"But the situation has changed. We are ready to use air power to defend ourselves and deter a conflict," assured IAF chief marshal.
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