IAF is in crisis, says US think tank
Washington, March 28: India’s traditional air superiority is now under “threat” as China and Pakistan are rapidly moder nising their air force, a top US think-tank warned on Monday, underlining that resolving the “crisis” should be a priority for the government.
“Despite being a worldclass combat arm, the IAF’s falling end strength and problematic force structure, combined with its troubled acquisition and development programs, threaten India’s air superiority over its rapidly modernising rivals, China and Pakistan,” said the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Authored by Ashley Tellis, the top American expert on India and South Asia, whose counsel is sought by governments in both the countries, the report “The Manifold Travails of the Indian Air Force” argues that Indian air dominance is vital for deterrence stability in southern Asia and for preserving the strategic balance in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Resolving India’s airpower crisis, therefore, should be a priority for New Delhi,” Tellis says in his report running in more than 60 pages.
The IAF’s fighter force, as of early 2016, is weaker than the numbers suggest, the report said, adding that at nominally 36.5 squadrons, it is well short of its sanctioned strength, and many of its frontline aircraft are obsolete. PTI