After COAS General Rawat threatened Pakistan with more surgical strikes if they didn’t mend their ways, Indian Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa gave a warning of unprecedented measure to Pakistan.

He spoke at the Indian Air Force’s annual press conference. He made some very significant statements, but none more than his open warning to Pakistan with regards to its nuclear sites. He said the Indian Air Force is capable of carrying out surgical strikes on Pakistan’s nuclear sites if the government gives a go-ahead.

When asked about the tactical nuclear arsenal of Pakistan, air chief said, “The Air Force has the capability to locate, fix and strike across the border.” He said that the IAF is ready for a full spectrum operation against Pakistan’s nukes if the government takes such a decision.

He addressed a slew on concerns and queries. He said that the IAF is prepared to fight at short notice if need arises, in full Coord with our sister services.

Air Chief said that the air force will have its full required strength of 42 squadrons by 2032. It is said that to effectively counter a two-front situation, the IAF would need 42 fighter squadrons. Having said that India is still considerably lagging behind in this aspect, air chief said that the IAF has a Plan B to tackle the problem.

He spoke about how India’s first 3 women fighter pilots will be commissioned into a Su-30 squadron by December. He also confirmed that there’s a requirement for more twin-Engine fighters down the road.

The IAF is considered superior to Pakistan’s Air Force. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is undoubtedly superior to the IAF both in terms of technology and numbers. But the scenario isn’t that simple.
Air warfare, if happens between India and China, will most likely take place over Tibet. The airfields that China has in Tibet are at significant heights and this reduces capability of fighter jets. Their payload capacity can fall by as much as 50%. Whereas, the IAF operates from air bases that are at sea-level which enables its jets to combat at full capacity. This gives the IAF a slight edge over its adversary.

Vinayak Jain

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