IAF would have changed the course of ’62 war: Air Chief
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India has learnt "open and glaring lessons" by not using offensive air power in the 1962 China war and its outcome would have been "totally different" if the role of the air force had been expanded beyond providing logistic support, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne said on Friday.
However, Defence Minister A K Antony sought to distance himself from the subject, hours after the air chief's statement focused on the tactics of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's government in the disastrous war. Antony said he would not answer "any hypothetical questions".
Browne was speaking on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 war in which India suffered an embarrassing defeat.
Recalling that the IAF was not allowed an offensive role, Browne said, "these are open and glaring lessons we should have imbibed. But this time, 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".
Asked if it was a "blunder" on the part of Nehru not to use air power, the air chief merely said, "It seems you have read the book 'Himalayan Blunder' and I don't want to add to the confusion to that...in hindsight, one can learn lessons from the history and these are open and glaring lessons we should have imbibed". Speaking about the use of IAF choppers in anti-Naxal operations, Browne said he has asked the Home Ministry to ensure more foots are put on the ground as choppers have a limited role.
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