IAF capable of striking nuclear, other targets in Pak, counter China: Air Chief

NEW DELHI
5 Oct 2017

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa today said the Indian Air Force (IAF) has the capability of locating and striking nuclear and other targets in Pakistan.

The comments by the Chief of the IAF came when asked at a news conference about global concerns over the safety of Pakistan's tactical nuclear weapons and whether IAF would be able to disarm Islamabad of its nuclear assets if necessary. "We have a draft nuclear doctrine. It is answered in that -- what happens when the enemy decides to use nuclear weapons on us. As far as IAF is concerned, it has the ability to locate, fix and strike and that is not only for tactical nuclear weapons but for other targets across the border (as well)," he said. Dhanoa said the IAF has the capability to carry out "full spectrum" of offensive at a "short notice" to thwart any security challenge facing the country.

"The IAF is prepared to fight at short notice in full synergy with other two sister services should the need arises. The Air Force has the capability of sustaining operational preparedness for a prolonged period," he said, referring to overall threat perception facing the country. Last month, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had said his country has developed short-range nuclear weapons to counter the 'Cold Start' doctrine of the Indian Army. Cold Start doctrine' was developed by the Indian Army for a possible war with Pakistan. This doctrine involves various branches of the Army conducting offensive operations as part of unified battle groups. There have been global concerns over safety of nuclear weapons in Pakistan. In August, a senior Trump administration official said the US was worried that nuclear weapons and materials in Pakistan might land up in the hands of terrorist groups or individuals.

The Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) of Pakistan is responsible for command, control and operational decisions regarding the country's nuclear arsenals.  Air Chief Dhanoa today also said that the IAF is capable of countering China and ready to take on the challenge of a two- front war, Air Chief B S Dhanoa said today. Addressing a press conference here on the eve of Air Force Day, he said his force is ready for a full spectrum operation but added that any decision on surgical strike involving the IAF has to be taken by the Union government. "We are ready to take on any challenge," he said.

Responding to a question, he said the IAF is ready to take on the challenge of a two-front war. Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat had said last month that the country should be prepared for a two-front war, insisting China has started "flexing its muscles", while there seems to be no scope for reconciliation with Pakistan whose military and polity saw an adversary in India. The Chief of Air Staff also said the IAF will achieve sanctioned strength of 42 fighter squadrons by 2032. (PTI)