Indian Air Force

Will IAF just support Army in new theatres? CDS Rawat says yes, but air chief says no in public

By The print

A fresh row broke out Friday between Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat and Air Chief Marshal (ACM) R.K.S. Bhadauria over the role of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the planned theatresisation.

While the CDS labeled the IAF as a supporting arm to the ground forces — likening it to the role of artillery and engineers in the Army, the IAF chief said air power has a huge role to play in any of the integrated battle areas and is not an issue of support alone.

ACM Bhadauria also said that the IAF was supportive of the integrated theatre command, but underlined that it is important to “get it right” because it will have an impact on war fighting.

These contrasting statements by two of the most senior Indian military officers came in the backdrop of differences within the Services on the basic structure of theatres, which aim to bring in a joint and integrated approach to war fighting.

The government has directed the Services and the CDS to fine tune the theatre command concept.

The latest row broke out during an online seminar organised by think-tank Global Counter Terrorism Council.

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