Saturday 2 July 2016 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

Manipur Pol Parties to Send joint delegation to meet PM on Naga accord
Look west: where Burma meets India
Indian Mujahideen, Lashkar E Taiyyaba, Karachi Project
Indian NIA team in Dhaka
Secure Indians - Zero Tolerance on Terrorism, Extremism and Crime
External Linkages in the Lime Limelight
PM awards young innovators in the Indian Army, on the occasion of Army Day
TAPI - Peace Pipeline Through Afghanistan Progress
The Threat of Terrorism
India Iran Discuss Chabahar Port
India's Multi-Stakeholder approach to Internet Governance
Air Marshal RK Dhir Takes Over as AOC in C SWAC
A New Government in Old Clothes?
20th India Russia Inter-Governmental Commission Meeting
Inaugural U.S.-India-Japan Trilateral Ministerial Dialogue in New York
INS Sunayna to Extend Reach of Southern Naval Command
INDIA'S DEFENCE BUDGET 2007 2008
Government will not tolerate criminal activities of UGs: Chief Minister
India Afghanistan Summit Level Engagement
DRDO Launches `PRAHAAR’ - Surface to Surface Tactical Missile
FAQ Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010
India Welcomes Northern Provincial Elections in Sri Lanka
DRDO: Pushing for Collaboration
A Perspective on Sino Indian Relations Over the Years
Speech by Prime Minister at the Inauguration of Afghanistan - India Friendship Dam in Herat
Modi Defence and Security Policies – Exploiting the “Triple Whammy”
Bilateral Security Agreement: Loya Jirga Proposes Karzai Disposes
India to work closely with new government in Sri Lanka
Construction of Houses and barracks at various establishments of CISF, CRPF and ITBP
Thailand Chief Calls on Gen Bikram Singh Chairman COSC & COAS
Official Spokesperson's response to a question on European Parliament resolution in the Italian Marines Case
India's Air Staff Chief Calls on Sri Lankan President
Bangladesh to get more key roles in UN peacekeeping
Next Steps to Indian Membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
A Cold Autumn Morning in Srinagar (From Ambassador' Journal)by K. Gajendra Singh
India-Israel Bilateral Cooperation
CHINA : PENTAGON REPORT 2007 GROWING POTENTIAL
Status Note on Return of Indian Boats from Pakistan
Indian Naval Ship visits Maldives for joint exercise with MNDF
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha’s Visit to Japan
Capacity building by NDRF on Rahgiri Day
Transnational Linkages and Counter Terror Cooperation
CorCom welcomes Khaplang’s decision to snap CF agreement
NSCN-K Zeliangrong region merges with Reformation faction
NATO Some Success, Some Failures
Arup Raha Addresses Naval War College
India Australia Defence Relations: Searching for New Partners
Joint Military Exercise ‘Hand in Hand’- 2015
Legacy of Kayani Era: First Impressions?
Private Participation in Defence Production

 

Article by Same Author

Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV): Need for Integrating Information Component
Smart Strategies For Defence Indigenisation
Bihar: Neglecting Preventive Counter Terror Drills
What to Expect of Defence Budget 2014- 15?
Reducing Vulnerability of India’s Terror Fault lines
Nawaz Sharif’s “K” Dilemma, Choosing Kayani’s Replacement
Religious Radicalisation of Indian Youth a Concern
Military and Media Establishing Positive Relations
India Russia Defence Technical Cooperation 2012: A Comprehensive Review
Indo US Defence Relations: More of the Same
US Defence Secretary Carter Visit: A Test of India’s Multi-Alignment Foreign Policy
Obama II & Indo US Defence Relations
India Launches New Generation AGNI 4, Prepares for AGNI 5
Indian Navy - Beyond Platform Centrism
India in a Spot in Bangladesh
Nuclear Suppliers Group Need for Enlightened Consensus on India
Mazagon Dock Pipavav: First Defence Joint Venture
Boeing’s First India Defence Contract Challenge
India’s Defence Budget 2014-15 – Expect a 15 - 20 percent Hike
Strategic Partnership Model: Aatre Task Force Report Prospects and Challenges
Maldives Presidential Elections: Political Instability May Continue
Naxal Attack on Congress Leaders: Need for “Security Culture”
Talk Asian Cooperative Security and Not Just Balancing China
Assam: Peace Moves and Tribulations
Is India’s Defence Acquisition Process Maturing?
India’s Self Created Bhutan Conundrum?
Why Army Aviation will be Most Sought After in Aero India 2015?
Pakistan Prime Minister’s Ajmer Visit – A Review
Perils of Measuring Instability or Peace Uniformly
Inter Community Relations in South Asia
Afghan Army – Heavy Casualties Due to Faulty Deployment
India – China – Next Steps to Boundary Management
Indian Defence: “Doberman,” Style Reforms Necessary
Pakistan Exercise Azm-e-Nau 4: Checkmating India’s Cold Start?
Priotise Decapacitation of Lashkar E Islam in Kashmir
Talks With Rebels
Vikramaditya: A Symbol of India Russia Defence Relations
Are India’s Security Forces Prepared for 2014?
PM Modis Twitter Diplomacy: The Pluses and Minuses
Counter Militancy: Review of Reconciliation Process in South Asia
INDIA’S DEFENCE BUDGET: OVERCOMING PERSISTENT STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES
New Chapter in India Ukraine Defence Cooperation
BRANDING FOR DEFENCE COMPANIES IN INDIA
Defence Budget 2016-17 – Caught in the Low Capital, High Revenue Trap
Gaza: India Must Stand for Proportionate Response
Pakistan’s Foreign Policy in Crisis: Reform of Perish
Navy Chief’s Resignation: A Survey Of The Big Picture
Taliban Losses, Afghan Gains
Kidnapping in Iraq: Options for the Indian Government
Reasons Why World’s 15 Top Military Spenders Splurge?

 
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 2016 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.