Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari stated on Sunday that India should see the scenario along its uneasy western and northern borders as a “two-front” contingency and prepare for it appropriately. He was referring to the potential challenge from a collusive military threat from China and Pakistan.
The Chief of Air Staff stated that India could face attacks in the future on all fronts, ranging from military confrontations to information manipulation and blackouts, and that its security doctrines and capabilities would need to be adjusted to account for such scenarios.
The impact of world events and geopolitical developments on India’s engagement with Beijing are continuously assessed across a wide range of domains “at all levels,” he said in response to a specific question about whether Russian aggression against Ukraine could encourage China to take more aggressive posturing along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
He stated, “As a nation, we need to precisely identify our current and emerging threats so that the requisite capabilities solutions can be built to counter them.
In response to a question regarding China’s quick deployment of its air assets along the LAC in eastern Ladakh during the ongoing border stalemate, he said that the “IAF can deliver the needed punch when required within a very short time-frame.”
The Chief of Air Staff emphasised that given the swift changes in geopolitics, any future battle will need to incorporate all components of the national defence system to be a “All-of-Nation Approach.”
“Our western and northern borders present certain difficulties, particularly because of unresolved boundary issues. We should view our predicament as a “two-front” contingency, in his opinion, and make necessary preparations.
According to the chief of the air staff, India’s military operations plans, capabilities development, and training should always account for a broad range of threats coming from either or both fronts.
Leading military figures expressed worry about the likelihood of a concerted threat along the northern and western fronts, including the first Chief of Defence Staff of India, Gen. Bipin Rawat, and the former Army Chief, Gen. MM Naravane.
But this is the first time a current chief has requested a thorough strategy to counter such a threat.
He added, “We are also aware of the need to be ready for an event-based, short-duration operation, which requires quick preparation, rapid asset deployment, and swift action.
He continued, “IAF is meticulously working on all these things to establish a credible force to handle all situations.”
The IAF chief’s remarks came as Indian national security planners became more aware of the need for a comprehensive security architecture in the light of escalating geopolitical unrest and the strategic reality of China’s long-term militarization of the LAC.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari added, “We must adopt a longer-term perspective and look at the manifestation of hostile forces on our national interests rather than compare threats as per the current condition of events.
On our western and northern frontiers, we deal with a distinct foe in terms of both nature and quantity. As the armed forces, we are constantly on guard to deal with threats and defend national sovereignty at all costs, he said.
The chief of air staff professed confidence in the ability of the Indian armed forces to avert any “misadventure on our frontiers.”
Regarding China’s development of its military infrastructure along the LAC, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari stated that the IAF continuously monitors capability growth across international boundaries and takes steps to reduce any threats that may result from such advances.
“I am pleased to see the pace of our infrastructure up-grading to meet the requirements of our new inductions and operational imperatives,” he said, adding that the Chinook helicopters have begun operating from one of the two earmarked bases in the east and that infrastructure development at the second base is almost complete.
The IAF chief claimed that the eastern sector’s infrastructure for the second Rafale squadron’s operationalization has also been finished.
According to him, the North-Eastern region’s existing Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) have been improved by the inclusion of new tools and resources.
The intrinsic qualities of air power, he continued, “enable us to rapidly concentrate impacts over broad geographical areas in very short timescales.”
It would be sufficient to say that the IAF can deliver the desired punch when required within a very short timeframe, he continued, albeit I would not remark on our actual deployment.
The IAF is dedicated to doing its share to ensure freedom of navigation and the advancement of a rules-based order in the region in accordance with the country’s foreign policy, the Air Chief Marshal said when asked what role the IAF can play in the Indo-Pacific.
In spite of differences in size and power, he continued, sustaining peace, tranquilly, freedom of movement, and most crucially, equal rights for all nations in the region, was necessary.
He continued, “India’s expanding stature has seen its convergence with global stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific as well as with like-minded nations.”