Former IAF chief B S Dhanoa said on Friday the government had rejected a proposal of the air force to strike Pakistani terrorist camps after 26/11.
He made the statement while addressing a big gathering of students, among others, at VJTI’s annual festival, Technovanza. “We knew where the terror camps were located in Pakistan and were ready. But it is a political decision whether to carry out a strike or not,’’ he said. Dhanoa was the air chief between December 31, 2016, and September 30, 2019.
He said after the attack on Parliament in December 2001, the IAF had proposed punitive action against Pakistan through air strikes. “This was not accepted. Pakistan owes its exalted position in society to its propogation of threat from India,” Dhanoa said.
Saying “if peace were to come, Pakistan would lose several of its privileges’’, former IAF chief Dhanoa emphasized that Islamabad would keep the Kashmir “pot” boiling without allowing it to boil over. According to him, Pakistan indulges in propaganda battles and will continue to attack. “The IAF has the ability to fight short, swift wars tomorrow, and any future war will be on land, air, sea and space,’’ he said.
According to Dhanoa, one of the major challenges faced by India is the fact that it has two nuclear-armed nations in its neighborhood. Though he chose not to identify the countries, he was obviously referring to China and Pakistan.
In a question-answer session later, Dhanoa said while India had nuclear capability on land, and in the sea and air, China had developed a modern air force which relies on quality not quantity. “There has been a significant increase in the deployment of aircraft and air crew in the Tibet Autonomous Region from other military regions as well.
It is busy on the eastern front and the South China Sea. They have created unsinkable aircraft carriers,’’ he said, adding, “When I met the Chinese air force chief at the Aero India 2019 in Bengalaru, I said ‘we must meet more on the ground than in the air’,’’ Dhanoa said.
On the February 26, 2019, Balakot air strike, he said it created a shock effect in Pakistan and the Pakistan Air Force was caught unawares. “There is lack of joint planning among its defence forces and their morale is low.” He said in the IAF, the Mirage 2000, the Mig-29 and Jaguars had been upgraded and future radars would be indigenous. “While fighting with low tech weapons, there will be a lot of casualties. You do not have the luxury of time. Start indigenisation from low to medium capability and then to high technology.’’