Thursday, May 3, 2018

“Gagan Shakti-2018” and Ground Realities of Indian Air force!

Looks like a Bollywood Film Poster

                Since long, Indian has been planning to start the war against Pakistan and China simultaneously under the Cold Start War Doctrine. Indian Generals and Rulers are often seen threatening Pakistan. However, India did not do anything except unprovoked shelling over unarmed civilians living near the Indian border and proxy war in Pakistan. In this regard, the Indian Air Force exercises namely Gagan Shakti that continued in two phases from 10 April to 24 April 2018. Indian media and Defense Ministry are presenting this exercise as Indian Air Force has acquired the power to conquer the world. According to Indian media, this is the longest exercise of Indian Air Force in the last seven decades. More than 1100 Indian fighter jets and helicopters took part in this exercise. During these 2 week exercises, more than 300 officers and 15000 airmen were in the war formation. The operational capability of Indian Air Force to operate in the desert, mountainous and sea terrain was judged. The jet to jet fighting i.e. dogfight, ground targets, dropping Paratroopers, destroying ships and airlifting casualties was part of the exercises. The first started on 10 April 2018, near Pakistani border in which different terrains were included. In these exercises including Jaguar, SU-30 war jets took part. These war jets were armed with Brahmas and other air to surface missiles including harpoon missiles for destroying ships and submarines. The 2nd part of the first phase was conducted near the Chinese border in which Indian Air Force operated in the light of the Chinese Air Force capability.
The Indian Air Force is prepared to fight a war at a short notice, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa
                The 2nd phase of the exercise was held near the Indian islands in the Indian Ocean to check the capability of Indian Air Force for protecting the sea territory and boost their operational capability. In these exercises, P-81 MR also took part. According to Time of India, India has informed Pakistan and China about her exercises which were enough to shock enemies of India. According, to Times of India, India needs 42 squadrons in order to fight with Pakistan and China simultaneously, but Indian Air Force has proved itself to be unconquerable just with the 31 squadrons. In the way Indian media told the tales of Indian Air Power and showed the thriller scenes of fighter jets hunting down; Indians may dream that now power can stand in front of Indian Air Force.
Kargil war 1999: Pakistan shot down two Indian fighter jet which violated Pakistani airspace.
                While doing propaganda, Indian Media and Defense Ministry forgot that just 4 days before the start of Gagan Shakti, Daniel Darling wrote an article “Why Indian Air Force is Dying”. He is of the view that Indian Air Force is a deadly force because fighter jets of India have completed their operational period without fighting any war. Trusting on these fighter jets during the war will be nothing less than suicide. According to the writer, in order to engage Pakistan and China simultaneously, India should have at least 45 Squadron. India also knows these facts well that Indian 31 squadrons are just in the papers as the induction of new fighter jets is still limited to the plans in papers.
Indians made a propaganda that its jets were shot down in Indian territory although the wreckage of the jets was found 12 km inside Pakistani territory
                This was the 26 May 1999; Pakistan captured disputed check posts on the Daras, Kargil and Batala Sector over Line of Control (LoC). After failed attempts of Artillery and Infantry; India called Air Force to recapture the check posts. At about 11:00 AM Pakistani media reported that two Indian Fighter Jets were shot down. The pilot of one jet died while the other was arrested alive. The news got the place in the international media at once however, India rejected it. It was not possible for India to remain steadfast to her denial for long because on the one hand arrested Indian pilot was with Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan announced to show the remains of Indian war jet. After such declaration by Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee called the emergency meeting of Cabinet and decided to acknowledge the destruction of the war jets.

Indian Air Force pilot Sqn Ldr. Ajay Ahuja who was killed in his Mig-21 shot downed by Pakistan

The pilot of the Mig-27 Flt Lt. K Nachiketa was captured alive by Pakistan

Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes held a Press Conference along with Defense Advisor Brajesh Misra that both jets were flying in the Indian territory when Pakistan army hit them with the surface to air missiles, one jet fell in the Pakistani territory due to high speed while the other one crashed in Indian territory due to technical problems and its pilot was saved. The pictures and footage of destroyed MIG-27 issued by Pakistan was a big breakthrough for international media. The news of Indian fighter helicopter destroyed by Pakistan was also reported. When International Media contacted Indian Defense Ministry, Indian Air Commodore Subhash Bhojwani replied that Indian Jets are continuing their attacks against the enemy. He rejected the report that due to presence anti-aircraft missile system of Pakistan, Indian Pilots are not ready to fly near the Pakistani border. While the Indian Air Commodore was talking to the media, it was reported that arrested Indian Pilot has been handed over to Indian High Commission at Islamabad. After such facts, India may stage as many exercises for her Air Force, Navy and Army as she likes; exercises cannot be the substitute for real war. 





Written by Khalid Baig,
Published in Daily Nawa-i-Waqt,
Date: 26 April 2018.