Political espionage thriller Madras Cafe brought to the discussion table the role played by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka. But,a rather authentic first person account of the role of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Op Pawan has been written by city-based Air Commodore (retd) Ashok Shinde. Shinde,who served as the Air Officer Commanding (AOC),Air Force Cell,during October 1988 and March 1990,said he would publish his book when operational details pertaining to IPKF would be declassified. Shinde will be felicitated by city-based Sainik Mitra Pariwar on the occasion of Dusshera.
I operated from St George in Madras and worked closely with General Kalkat,the GOC of the IPKF division. The book is a detailed account of the operations. I think Ill wait for the completion of 25 years of IPKF withdrawal before I publish my book, said Shinde,a Veer Chakra awardee and veteran of 1962,1965 and 1971 operations.
Twenty-six years ago,IAF carried out transport and helicopter sorties in support of the ground forces in Sri Lanka. In Op Pawan,IAF was not deployed in an offensive role. Instead,its role was limited to transport and supplies. I feel we could have used the IAF in an offensive position and it could have cost us lesser lives on ground, he added.
The unpublished book takes a historical view of the air operations,the political directions and military instructions that emerged from those directions. So detailed is the account that it lists some of the minute details from the number of sorties that each of the operating aircrafts undertook to the number of people the sorties ferried and the tonnage the sorties carried. But,for all this to be published,we should wait for some time, the retired officer said.
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