Air Chief B S Dhanoa writes to each officer: Be ready for operations at short notice

“In the present scenario, there is an ever persistent sub-conventional threat. Therefore, we need to be prepared for operations with our present holdings, at a very short notice.

Written by Sushant Singh | New Delhi | Updated: May 20, 2017 7:15 am
B S Dhanoa, Air Chief, Indian Air Force, india security, surgical strike, india pakistan relations, india news Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa

IN AN unprecedented move, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, the Chief of Air Staff, has written a personal letter to each officer of the Indian Air Force (IAF), asking them “to be prepared for operations with our present holdings, at a very short notice”.

The letter, signed March 30, also covers a range of issues from “favouritism” in the force to “sexual harassment”. Written three months after ACM Dhanoa took over as IAF Chief, the letter is being posted and delivered to each of the nearly 12,000 officers of the force.

This is the first time that an IAF chief has written a personal letter to all officers, although two Army chiefs — Field Marshal (then General) K M Cariappa on May 1, 1950 and General K Sundarji on February 1, 1986 — have penned similar missives.

“In the present scenario, there is an ever persistent sub-conventional threat. Therefore, we need to be prepared for operations with our present holdings, at a very short notice.

Training needs to be focused towards this,” says the letter.

The “sub-conventional threat” is said to be a reference to the ‘proxy war’ by Pakistan, which is reflected in the increasing number of terror attacks on military camps and the rising public unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

The mention in the letter of “our present holdings” is an indication of the severe shortfall in the number of fighter squadrons with the IAF.

The IAF is authorised 42 squadrons of fighter aircraft but its current holding is down to 33. A deal for 36 Rafale fighters, signed with France, and a decision to induct indigenous Tejas fighters will barely make up for the de-induction of the MIG series of fighters from the fleet.

Asking officers to be “combat effective professionals”, ACM Dhanoa writes that “there is no choice but to stay abreast of new technological advancements both own as well as that of our adversaries. Only then will we come out with war-winning, out of the box solutions.”

The letter also reminds officers that “in the recent past, there have been instances and occasions where lack of professionalism has shown the IAF in poor light”.

Indulging in uncharacteristic plainspeak, the IAF chief writes that “we have been witness to a few instances of ‘favouritism’ in selection of officers for prime assignments and promotions”.

“This is something we can ill afford,” the letter says.

Pointing out that “officers holding responsible appointments tend to display ‘Milk of Human Kindness’ while dealing with those involved in wrongful practices”, the letter warns that “abusive behaviour, resorting to physical intimidation and behaviour amounting to sexual harassment by seniors is not acceptable”.

The letter also lays to rest apprehensions about participation by the families of officers in activities of the Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA) and Ladies Club, calling them “voluntary”. The IAF chief wrote that “(IAF) stations are not judged by their performance in these activities but on operations”.

When contacted by The Indian Express, an IAF spokesperson described the letter as “internal communication” and refused to comment on its contents.

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    sachin
    Oct 22, 2017 at 9:57 pm
    why are you not conduct airmen rally in u.p.
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      arun kumar
      May 24, 2017 at 10:55 pm
      Shame on asians always fighting cant stay like europe. Problem starts with family then neighbours then state then nation then religion. Gods infrastructure test them and act.
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        SQN LDR ZULQADAR RASHID PAF
        May 21, 2017 at 7:43 pm
        A professional and much required gesture..for any AIR CHIEF... pletely normal and no cause for any alarm or media hype.Brings to mind Marshal of the IAF ARJAN SINGH AND AIR CHIEFMARSHAL DILBAGH SINGH..
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          Tariq Nazir Syed
          May 21, 2017 at 4:55 pm
          The Indians are acting in a very "jingoistic" manner, especially since Modi took over. So much money is being wasted on armaments. Over 60 of Indians don't even have toilets. Under these and other dire social shortcommings, it is sad that the leadership cannot move beyond confrontation and adopt a mature and constructive at ude in order to resolve problems through result orientated dialog, instead of opting for war as a means of achieving objectives. War will only destroy and depleat resources and push the sub continent decades back. And if conflicts escalate into nuclear war, then one can only see the massive destruction that may result. To think that a couple of million, or some hundred million could die in such a confict, is " acceptable", is absolutely criminal. This does not take into account of the devastation to industry Therefore, any talk about war is insane and reflects the thinking of a criminal mind. STRIVE FOR PEACE AND PROSPARITY OF OUR REGION. THE OMLY SANE WAY
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            sanjeev kr.verma
            May 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm
            KEEPING QUIT AND RISK'S TO OUR SOLDIER'S LIFE WILL DICREASE OUR STRENGTH TO FIGHT. A WARRIOR SHOULD ALWAY'S BE PREPARED TO CLINCH HIS DESTINATION. BSF, CRPF AND PARAMILITERY ALL DONE AND WE HAD LISTEN TO THEIR GREAT COMMENT'S ABOUT OUR 3 NATIONAL PILLER ARMED FORCES AND MADED DECISSION TO DEFFENCE FORCE'S I.E AIR,ARMY NEAVY. WE STRIKE THEM OUT HARDER THEN THEY BELEIVE..JAI HIND TIGER BRACTA.
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