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A Formidable Force

Indian Air Force in India’s National Defence 2032 In the 81 years of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) existence, there have been many battles and wars that the formidable force has fought. Some were successful, some not so but IAF managed to make a significant contribution to India’s defence. Thus, it comes as a surprise that IAF was formed as an independent air force in 1932 with just four Wapiti aircraft, six Indian officers and 22 hawai sepoys. From such humble beginnings and meager resources, it is today the fourth largest air force in the world. This rightly calls for a book which delves into the history of IAF and also looks at its future. The book begins with when a fledgling IAF contributed significantly to the North West Frontier Province and the Burma campaigns of World War II. In fact, the Burma campaign was the first regular war in which the IAF contributed majorly. It was during World War II that the IAF grew from a single squadron to a nine squadron force and operated jointly with the British, Americans and Chinese.

Post-Independence, when the Instrument of Accession was signed by the Maharaja of J&K, the IAF swung into immediate action to check the invading intruders by airlifting troops of 1st Sikh Regiment from Delhi to Srinagar. “…On the very first day, 27 sorties of Dakotas transported over 400 troops and equipment. Thereafter, the entire 161 Brigade was airlifted and the state of J&K was saved…” writes the author. Thereafter, the IAF was an integral part of all the wars that followed — 1965 War, Bangladesh War, Kargil War.

Besides wars, the IAF has been active in military operations or as is coined by the US, Military Operations Other Than War. These have included Liberation of Goa, Operation Cactus, Operation Parakram and more recently, Operation Triveni or Anti-Naxal Operations. In addition, there have been relief and humanitarian aid, like during the Uttarakhand floods in 2013, for which the IAF was roped in.

The book also explores the possibilities of a two-front war and the future of warfare. The challenges that the IAF would face in the event of a future war are discussed in depth. Air power and the aerospace industry are the other topics that are discussed in detail. The author has ensured that the book is packed with interesting nuggets of information so that it doesn’t become a boring read.

Indian Air Force in India’s National Defence 2032
Nishant Gupta
KW Publishers
Pg 232

— Meenakshi Kumar


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