No single service can win war on its own, says Indian Air Force chief


Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari on Thursday said no single service can win wars on its own, and integration should focus on tapping into the strength of each service to maximise the country’s combat capability.

Integration of the armed forces to enhance their effectiveness and reshape the conduct of future operations is a top priority for the government. While Chaudhari backed tri-service integration, he stressed “the primacy of who will do what cannot be determined by a pro rata system of who has a larger mass of forces or equipment.” The IAF chief was speaking on Aerospace Power: Future Challenges at the Jumbo Majumdar International Seminar.

“The thought process must change and it would be important to appreciate the capabilities of each service to make two plus two equal five,” Chaudhari said. The IAF chief was driving home the point that the synergised effort should not be the sum of the whole but much more.

Each service is equally important in its own domain and it’s critical that the military is integrated in way that taps the operational capability of all the three services for the best outcome, said Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retd), director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.

India’s first chief of defence staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, who was killed in a helicopter crash last December, was spearheading the theaterisation drive to best utilise the military’s resources for future wars and operations. The government is yet to appoint his successor.

The current theaterisation model to enhance tri-service synergy seeks to set up four integrated commands — two land-centric theatres, an air defence command and a maritime theatre command.

There is a need to develop joint command and control structures for integrated and synergised application of combat power, the IAF chief said. “The fundamental strengths of individual services must be brought together to deter potential enemies or decisively win the nation’s wars. There is a need to wage tomorrow’s wars with pragmatism and not necessarily idealism,” he said.

He said the speed, reach and accuracy of air power made it a preferred choice for most operations, but it also needed to adapt to newer trends in war fighting.

The IAF chief flagged concerns about weaponisation of space. “China’s latest demonstration of physically moving one of its disabled satellites into the graveyard orbit (in January) is bringing in newer threats in the race to weaponise the space domain, a domain hitherto considered relatively safe,” he added.



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