As always, this is a special issue on the Indian Air Force to mark the 86th IAF Day on October 8. While it is obvious that the IAF has come a long way from its inception, today it has acquired the role of the lead service as far conventional deterrence and war-fighting is concerned. With the ascent of technology, the old battlefields have started to recede, paving the way for the new ones. Interestingly, even for the traditional threats that India faces in the north, the IAF increasingly will be the first line of both offence and defence.
The FORCE lead article focuses on the capabilities the IAF would need to build both in the short and the long-term to fulfil the responsibilities that now rest on its shoulders. These capabilities go beyond platform acquisition. We also look at current capabilities and how they can be augmented through indigenisation and tweaking of offsets clause in the Defence Procurement Procedure policy.
Though it is an IAF special issue, we are a carrying a special first-hand account by FORCE regular Maj. Gen. Mrinal Suman on how the army engineers had sunk in two shafts way back in 1981-82 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wanted to carry out the nuclear tests. For various reasons, the tests could not be done then. In 1998, when the Vajpayee government decided to go nuclear, one of the reasons why it could do so quickly and without arousing international suspicion was because the shafts sunk-in nearly two decades ago were ready for use. Maj. Gen. Suman, then a major, writes a fascinating account which is both racy and inspiring.
Last month, I was invited by Pakistan’s Centre for Peace, Security and Development Studies to participate in a seminar on Global Peace Amidst War and Conflict. I spoke on how India can take advantage of the emerging geopolitics in India’s neighbourhood to foster lasting peace by resolving contentious issues with Pakistan and China. The October issue reproduces my talk, which was received well by the hosts. In addition to these are FORCE regulars, including news from the services and the industry.
The IAF Day sets the mood for festivities leading up to the New Year. The weather also improves and the evenings urge celebration. Enjoy the joyous season!