Jointness with army, navy is way forward, says IAF

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  1. Galaxy

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    Jointness with army, navy is way forward, says IAF

    8 October 2011

    Hindon (Ghaziabad) :
    Keeping aside all differences with the army and the navy over operational and administrative matters, the Indian Air Force (IAF) Saturday said it was convinced that "integration and jointness" with its sister forces was the "way forward" in military matters.

    However, the core competencies of the individual armed force were indeed the organs of the national power and these need to be synergised to generate the required military strength and capability, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne said in his address to air warriors on the 79th Air Force Day parade here.

    "We are also convinced that integration and jointness is the way forward and the core competencies of each service indeed and the organs of the national power must be synergised to generate the required strength and capability," Browne said in the presence of navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh.

    "In this regard, I wish to assure the army and the navy, and other security agencies, of our commitment not only to support common cause but also to bring to the table a vast area of capability and responses for all types of exigencies," the IAF chief said on the occasion.

    The three services have not been able to arrive at a consensus on the issue of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), a single-point of military advice to the government and a five-star officer, as proposed by the 1999 Kargil War Review panel headed by strategic analyst late K. Subramanyam and approved by a group of ministers.

    In fact, Browne's predecessor and retired Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik had in the months preceding his superannuation openly opposed the idea of the CDS in its present proposed format, and had sought an in-depth national debate and study of systems existing in other countries.

    The IAF too has problems with the army planning to have its own combat helicopters to support its battle troops, apart from a transport aircraft fleet.

    Browne had, at his first press conference as IAF chief earlier in the week, referred to a 1986 government document that stipulated the responsibilities of the three forces and who would hold and operate what military asset.

    He pointed out that army's mandate was to use only light utility helicopters for logistics purposes under its aviation corps, and the air force to support the army's troops with both attack helicopters and men to fly and maintain the machines.

    The command and control of the attack helicopters of the air force while in a troops support role will, however, be with the army commanders, Browne had stated.

    At present, the two attack helicopters squadrons of the IAF, operating Mi-25 and Mi-35 helicopters, are with the army's command and control, he had added.

    In the last seven years, the army and the air force have held a dozen battle exercises in the Rajasthan desert and in the Punjab plains to achieve jointness for effective validation of its swift-but-short warfare doctrine, loosely called the 'Cold Start' by military think-tanks and the media.
     
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