Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria became the Indian Air Force chief on September 30, 2019, months after the IAF launched airstrikes at Balakot, Pakistan. On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Balakot airstrikes, ACM Bhadauria speaks with the Indian Express. Excerpts:
One year after the Balakot strike and subsequent air operations, how do you look back at the events from February 2019 till now?
The Balakot airstrike redefined the use of air power towards meeting the national objective and has changed the paradigm of sub-conventional action and response in the subcontinent. The event itself, and the subsequent air operations on February 27, 2019, have remained in public attention with the battle of narratives spreading out to the masses over all forms of media.
But the fact remains that the Balakot airstrikes were the most significant air action by the IAF in over four decades, when our fighters penetrated deep into Pakistan airspace, executed a precise attack on the terror camp and returned home unchallenged.
Over the last year, we have continued to focus on our operational training and readiness, induction of enhanced BVR (Beyond Visual Range) missiles, stand off weapon capability and upgradation of secure communications. We have looked closely at our modernisation and acquisition plans for prioritisation in line with the changing threat scenario.