Monday 25 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

India’s Nuclear Deterrent
Indo US Defence Cooperation: High Point of Prime Minister’s US Visit
Govt. is making all efforts for development of Border Areas: Shri Kiren Rijiju
Is China’s PLA Resisting Party Attempts for Reforms?
A bomb in the heart of Malé
Afghanistan’s Sikh community’s woes
Highlights of Events in Department of Atomic Energy in 2014
China joint efforts with Sri Lanka and India to promote regional stability
Afzal Guru Execution: Perspectives and Trends
Maoist split shakes rebel movement
Challenges of Overcoming Status Quo in Kashmir
Economic Challenges Due To Rupee Ban
Violence in FATA and NWFP
Indian Perceptions on Global Power Shifts
Connectivity Key Vector for Closer India ASEAN Cooperation
Missile Developments in South Asia – Review of NASIC Report
Sri Lanka, India foreign ministers discuss bilateral relations, maritime security
Overall Strategy Jammu and Kashmir
India in a Spot in Bangladesh
India `s Defence Capability Building : Cooperation and Acquisitions
India Russia cooperation in the field of Disaster Management
Travel Advisory for Indian nationals in Iraq
Indian Embassy Attack: Another Signal
The 5th India-China Strategic Dialogue
Delay in Indian Entry to NSG Likely
Delhi Police Charge sheet against AQIS
International organisations inducting Indian youth for terrorist activities
Sri Lanka delegation to leave for India for ministerial level talks on fisheries issue
Indo-Nepal Battalion Level Combined Exercise Surya Kiran to commence from 08 Feb
Measures to Protect Security Data from Cyber Spying
IAF Helicopters Excel in Rescue and Relief Efforts
Union Home Minister briefs on MHA’s budget Highlights
India-Nepal Bilateral Consultative Group (BCG) on Security
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister opposes installing buoys on the IMBL between India and Sri Lanka
IS recruit from Kalyan back home, shows no remorse
Indian Air Force (IAF) Bi-Annual Commanders’ Conference Gets Underway
34 More Coastal Police Stations to be operationalized shortly
Connectivity a key to development
Manipur New committee to press for repeal of AFSPA by 2014
Vice President Ansari's Comments on Situation in West Asia
Appointment of Agents in Defence Deals
Union Home Minister Says paradigm shift in disaster management
2nd phase of Pan-African e-Network Project
Sumi Hoho team meets Khapalang
Armed Forces Mobile Oxygen Generation Plant and Medicines Being Transported to Valley
Infiltration from Pakistan and Incursions by Chinese Troops
Serve the Country and Navy with Pride
Indian Challenge of Use of Power in IR
India Australia Defence Relations: Searching for New Partners
Private sector cashing in on 'make in India

 

Article by Same Author

What to Expect of Defence Budget 2014- 15?
India China Relations – Dramatic Turnaround Post Depsang
Perils of Measuring Instability or Peace Uniformly
Indian Army's Battle for Hearts and Minds in Srinagar
US Confirms Pole Position in India’s Bilateral Relations
Pakistan – A Turbulent Beginning to 2013?
NSCN IM Blames Government for Failure of Peace Talks
Boeing’s First India Defence Contract Challenge
India’s Final Defence Budget 2014-15: Continuing Challenges to Modernisation
Bihar: Neglecting Preventive Counter Terror Drills
INDIA’S DEFENCE BUDGET: OVERCOMING PERSISTENT STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES
India Russia Defence Technical Cooperation 2012: A Comprehensive Review
Kashmir: Political Engagement and Counter-Narrative - The Way Ahead
India Slash In Defence Budget 2012-13?
Defence Budget 2016-17 – Caught in the Low Capital, High Revenue Trap
Is Pakistan Army Launching Operations in North Waziristan?
Qualitative Differences In India Russia, Indo US Relations And India China Relations
Tracking South Asia Through the Decade
Assam: Peace Moves and Tribulations
Nawaz Sharif’s T2 Dilemma with India
Afghanistan: Afghan Army Emerging From Shadows of NATO?
US Defence Secretary Carter Visit: A Test of India’s Multi-Alignment Foreign Policy
Counter Militancy: Review of Reconciliation Process in South Asia
India’s Self Created Bhutan Conundrum?
Army Command Exit Model: Stepping Back to Step Forward -The Way Ahead
NSA Talks: Effect of Civil Military Relations in Pakistan
Cease Fire Violations: Spare the Civil Population and Assets
India: Avoiding Counter Terrorism Complacency Post Bhatkal and Other Arrests
India’s Defence Budget 2014-15: New Acquisitions Challenged
Pakistan Flawed Counter Terrorism Strategy Exposed
Civil Military Relations in South Asia
India in a Spot in Bangladesh
Inter Community Relations in South Asia
Trends in Operations in Afghanistan in 2012
Standing While Running: India China Relations
Mazagon Dock Pipavav: First Defence Joint Venture
PM Modi visit to Vikramaditya: Signaling Hard Power
PM Modis Twitter Diplomacy: The Pluses and Minuses
Pakistan Interior Minister’s Comments Subverts Indo Pakistan Relations
Indian Defence: “Doberman,” Style Reforms Necessary
Armed Forces Modernisation and Upgradation
Bhutan Elections: India Backs PDP’s Surprise Win
India and the Emerging Eurasian Strategic Landscape
India Pakistan Relations: Unrealistic Expectations
Pakistan Exercise Azm-e-Nau 4: Checkmating India’s Cold Start?
Is India Talking to the Wrong Sharif in Pakistan?
Joint Ventures – Entry Route to Indian Defence Industry
Underlying BDCA Message – exercise restraint – Leadership to Military
PLA Western Theatre Command: Challenge of Operational Management
Is Bangladesh On the Sights of Al Qaeda?

 
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.