Sunday 2 August 2015 Home | Sitemap | Contact Us

  Research Papers  |  Books  |  Items
Security Trends South Asia » India Defence » Indian Air Force: Wither Offensive Air Support in 1962
Rahul Bhonsle

Oct 6, 2012

Print Bookmark Email

Indian Air Force: Wither Offensive Air Support in 1962

The 1962 War with China saw the proud record of the Indian Armed Forces which had participated in the First and the Second World Wars sullied at the hands of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Amongst the many lessons learnt from the War was the non use of offensive air power by the Indian side. This has remained one of the enigmas of 1962 which has been debated across the board. On the 80th Anniversary of the Indian Air Force (IAF) controversy over India abdicating the use of offensive air power in 1962 India China War has again cropped up.

The IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal Norman Browne in the traditional pre IAF Day media conference remarked that the IAF was not allowed to be used in an offensive role and was restricted to only the transport role. "If offensive airpower had been used in 1962, the outcome would have been very different...it would have changed the course of the war," said Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne. He indicated that there would be no such limitations in a future war scenario. Browne stated,   “These are open and glaring lessons [of non use of the IAF in 1962 operations] we should have imbibed,” he added. “I can assure you there will be no such limitation. The IAF will play a leading role in not just against that or any other sector but anywhere whenever the need arises.”

The Indian Air Force official web page highlights the restricted transport role in 1962 thus, “During the period 20 October to 20 November, pressure on the Service's transport and helicopter units were intense, troops and supplies having to be flown to the support of the border posts virtually around the clock and at extreme altitudes. The helicopters had to constantly run the gauntlet of Chinese small arms and anti-aircraft fire, while operating on the tricky helipads in the mountains. Many notable feats were performed by the IAF during this conflict, including the operation of C-119Gs from airstrips 17,000 ft (5180m) above sea level in the Karakoram Himalayas, and the air-lifting by An-12Bs of two troops of AMX-13 light tanks to Chushul, in Ladakh, where the small airstrip was 15,000 ft (4570m) above sea level”.

Analysts as Group Captain (in 2003) R. Sukumaran of the Indian Air Force writing in the July 2003 issue of Strategic Analysis, a Journal published by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, a government funded think tank in New Delhi cite mainly three reasons for the same. An over assessment of potential of the PLA Air Force by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) led the political leadership to play safe and avoid retaliation which would have exposed Indian populated centres in the plains to strikes by the Chinese aircraft. The US Ambassador Mr John Kenneth Galbraith was reported to have prevailed on the political leadership not to use the Air Force to prevent escalation while finally it is said that the Air Force itself was hesitant due to difficulties in providing close air support to troops in the jungle terrain in NEFA without ground to air communications.  

What ever it be hindsight reveals that this decision possibly could be one of the key factors which led to the debacle of sorts. In 1962, PLA Air Force (PLAAF) did not have the capability to operate from airfields in Tibet, nor could it have undertaken operations from the Chinese Mainland. That the IB did not take any inputs from the IAF was very obvious for use of offensive air support by the Indian side would have greatly assisted overcoming the asymmetry in terms of fire power that existed on the ground. For instance the 7 Infantry Brigade which disintegrated in the battle had only two 75 mm artillery pieces to support it. While the IAF may have had some hesitation in providing close support it could have carried out interdiction of Chinese forces exposed in the build up at various stages on the Tibetan Plateau.
    
Indian Army planners including Lt General SPP Thorat GOC in C Eastern Command in 1960 and Maj. Gen. D. K. Palit, the Director, Military Operations (DMO) had very clearly outlined that offensive air support was a feasible option. But the Army leadership was unable to convince the political hierarchy and even the IAF of the necessity for offensive air support.

Today while the IAF chief is confident that the situation has changed and no such restriction will be binding, the PLAAF has considerably enhanced potential. Thus the threat of launching air operations on city centers in India may be real. IAF on the other hand may have no counter value targets in Tibet.

However on the whole in many ways 1962 operations could also be seen as a turning point of sorts for the IAF as the IAF web site states that an, “ambitious expansion to a 45-squadron force which was sanctioned by the Government in October 1962, this calling for the raising of IAF personnel strength to some 100,000 by the early seventies”. The combat squadron strength of the IAF has however never reached the figure of 45, today it remains at 34 squadrons.

Related Tags



 

Related Article

Future Security Challenges - “New Dimensions of Security”
Visit of UK Royal Highnesses To IMA 07 Nov 2013
Prithvi II on Target in User Trial
Afghanistan Pessimist about Pakistan's Support to Peace Process
India's participation Chahbahar port in Iran
Reports of Prime Minister to Fly in a French Fighter Jet at Aero India Denied
India South Korea Joint Statement on Political and Security Relations
RPF cautions public against AR civic action programme
Army-UG outfits engaged in fierce gun-fight along Indo-Myanmar border
INDIAN POLICY CLIMATE CHANGE
New Policy for Surrenders by Maoists
PM's address at the All India Conference of Directors General/Inspectors General of Police
Remarks by PM Modi at Press Briefing With President Xi
India: Avoiding Counter Terrorism Complacency Post Bhatkal and Other Arrests
Sino Indian Relations in 2006
India to Maintain Tough Stand in Rafale deal
Sri Lanka Perspectives January 2010
Bhutan-India relation is not rhetoric, says Indian President
DGR Job Fair – A Distinctive Opportunity for Ex- Servicemen
BrahMos New Missile Plans, Exports
Exercise 'GARUDA' ' A New Step in Indo French Air Force Cooperation
Antony Reviews Coastal Security
Military – Capacity Enhancement
Lt Gen Amit Sharma, VSM Appointed Commander - in - Chief Strategic Force Command
Private Participation in Domestic Aerospace Arena
Back Channel Talks between Washington and Tehran
India funded development projects worth Rs. 365 million inaugurated in Northern Sri Lanka
Honeywell And Tata Power SED Sign Landmark Agreement For India's Defense Industry
Building Inter State Relations: The Personal Experiential Linkages
Commissioning of Inshore Patrol Vessel (IPV)ICGS Rajdhwaj
Indian, Chinese soldiers vow to maintain peace along LAC
Afghanistan 2006 The Coming of NATO
Indo Russian Strategic Congruence
Indo Japan Relations ' Strategic Dialogue Concluded
Counter Terror Diplomacy: A New Phase?
Synergy in Operations and Development
Border loopholes aiding influx in Assam, says Report
Nagaland Factional Fighting and Extortion
Sri Lankan court - death sentences to 5 Indian
India’s Self Created Bhutan Conundrum?
China welcomes constant growth of relations between Sri Lanka and India
Flawless and Enthralling Air Display being Ensured at Aero India 2015
Kashmir: Portends of Summer Terror Campaign
Prime Minister Outlines Security Challenges- Responses at INDU Launch
India China River Waters Info Sharing Agreement
Visit of Commander of Srilanka Navy Chief
Promotion Policy for Women Officers in the Armed Forces
After DRDO Antony Warns DPSUs
Continuing Acquisition Woes
Unauthorised aircraft over Maldives of US military

 

Article by Same Author

Aero India 2015: The Lure for Foreign Companies?
New Chapter in India Ukraine Defence Cooperation
South Asian Elections: Bomb Makers in Demand
Nawaz Sharif’s “K” Dilemma, Choosing Kayani’s Replacement
Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF): Crisis Within
India – Pakistan - South Asia’s Zero Sum Game
Pakistan Flawed Counter Terrorism Strategy Exposed
Pentagon 2012 Report on China: PLA’s Rapid Modernisation
India’s Asia Pacific Rebalancing?
Religious Radicalisation of Indian Youth a Concern
Defence allotments remain in estimated range
The World Must Cheer Afghanistan's Football Victory
Tweaking the “Tweet Policy,” for the Indian Armed Forces
Nawaz Prompt Felicitations from India underline hopes
Indo Pakistan Relations in Limbo
Boeing’s First India Defence Contract Challenge
A Seven Level Counter Radicalisation Response
Mazagon Dock Pipavav: First Defence Joint Venture
Pakistan Army: Returning to Political Centre Stage?
India’s Disaster Vulnerability and Response
India Russia Defence Technical Cooperation 2012: A Comprehensive Review
18th SAARC: Regional Diplomacy Primer for Modi Government
Bihar: Neglecting Preventive Counter Terror Drills
Are India’s Security Forces Prepared for 2014?
Tactical Solutions to India’s Strategic Terror Challenge on IB
Pak Elections – Economy, India Pak Relations, Provinces and the Army
Standing While Running: India China Relations
China India Dance in South Asia
Jointness: Single Point Defence Agenda for Modi Government
Counter Militancy: Review of Reconciliation Process in South Asia
Pakistan – A Turbulent Beginning to 2013?
Exercise Sarvada Vijay & Azm E Nau A Brief Comparison
Pakistan Prime Minister’s Ajmer Visit – A Review
Military and Media Establishing Positive Relations
Tracking South Asia Through the Decade
India: Avoiding Counter Terrorism Complacency Post Bhatkal and Other Arrests
PM Modi visit to Vikramaditya: Signaling Hard Power
Is Bangladesh On the Sights of Al Qaeda?
Bhutan China Relations and India
Terrorism in India: Demand and Supply Dynamics
Maldives Presidential Elections: Political Instability May Continue
India in a Spot in Bangladesh
New Terror Networks Unravelled
Obama II & Indo US Defence Relations
Civil Military Relations in India: In Times of Change
Pak Army Chief: Sharif Makes Safe Choice
Trends in Operations in Afghanistan in 2012
India’s Bangladesh Dilemma Gets More Complex
Maldives Elections: Updated
Manmohan Visit to Washington: Rejuvenating Indo US Relations

 
ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb






Home | Security Trends South Asia | Security Issues South Asia | Top Stories | Publication  | Events | About Us | Contact Us | Disclaimer  | Privacy Policy
© Copyright of Security-risks 2015 All Rights Reserved Web Design India Internet
In case you come across any suspicious activity, any suspicious movement or have any information to tell to the Anti-Terror Squad, please take a note of the new ALL INDIA TOLL-FREE Terror Help-line "1090". Your city's Police or Anti-Terror squad will take action as quickly as possible. Remember that this single number 1090 is valid all over India. This is a toll free number and can be dialled from mobile phones also. Moreover, the identity of the caller will be kept a secret.

Please try to make aware each and every citizen of India about this facility.

BC is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is famed for its natural beauty.Vancouver is BC's largest city.