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Cassidian
APRIL-2013 ISSUE
Force Magazine
Guest Column - Force Magazine
Yawning Gap
South Asian Air Power Imbalance and the PAF
By The Military Analyst 

JF-17
JF 17

Despite being the latest entrant into the arena of warfare and having been in existence for merely a century, military aviation has undergone such tremendous technological and capability enhancements during the past few decades that air power is now able to play a much more dominant role in wars as compared with land and maritime forces. While it might still be true that air power alone cannot win a war, it is equally true that no modern war can be brought to a successful conclusion without the help and involvement of air power.

The major air forces in the South Asian region are no strangers to these truths. The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) have both witnessed immense qualitative and quantitative boost in the recent years. The primary factor leading to this growing emphasis on the development of military aviation capability lies in the increasing realisation that air power is now an indispensable element and ingredient of the modern battlefield. This increased emphasis on regional air power development has necessitated the allocation of additional funds for the air forces often at the expense of reduced budgetary allocations for the other two services, thus creating several understandable rifts, debates and misunderstandings.

India and Pakistan cannot be considered equals in any respect. India not only has a much larger territorial landmass and maritime area of influence but has also the second largest population in the world. Recent times have also seen India developing phenomenally in the economic sphere while Pakistan's economy continues to remain stagnated. The economic boom in India has allowed increased budgetary allocations for defence while Pakistan’s stagnant economy has imposed further constraints on the already meagre and limited funds that are made available for meeting the needs of the Pakistan military.
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