Updated March 28th, 2024 at 16:44 IST

IAF Chief VR Chaudhari Expounds on Balakot-like Air Operations in Future Conflicts

Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief VR Chaudhari delivered a keynote address highlighting the significance of operations like the Balakot airstrike.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Representational | Image:Republic

New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief VR Chaudhari delivered a keynote address at the 15th Jumbo Majumdar International Seminar on Aerospace Power in Future Conflicts in New Delhi. He emphasized the significance of operations akin to Balakot in showcasing the efficacy of aerospace power beyond enemy lines. 

The 2019 Balakot airstrike represents a pivotal event in the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed nations with a turbulent history of conflict. This airstrike, conducted on February 26, 2019, saw Indian warplanes penetrate Pakistani airspace and release bombs in the vicinity of Balakot, situated in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.  


The Indian military characterized the airstrike as a preemptive measure aimed at a purported terrorist training camp, claiming it resulted in the elimination of a significant number of terrorists. The day after the Indian airstrike, Pakistan retaliated with its own airstrikes, escalating tensions further. This retaliation resulted in the downing of an Indian warplane and the subsequent capture of its pilot by the Pakistani military. The pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was held in Pakistan for several days before being released by Pakistan out of fear of an Indian retaliation. The Balakot airstrike and its aftermath underscored the delicate balance of power in the region and the potential consequences of military actions between two nuclear-armed adversaries.  

Future of warfare to embrace technological advancements 

Chaudhari further elaborated on the importance of forums like the seminar in fostering a deeper understanding of air power application in modern battlespaces. "Ongoing conflicts across the globe have brought out significant lessons for nations in general and air power in particular," Chaudhari remarked.

Credit- Indian Air Force

The IAF Chief emphasized that aerospace power will remain vital to the conduct of all military operations in the future of warfare. "The future of warfare will always be a complex tapestry woven with evolving technologies, shifting alliances, and the ever-present threat of conflict," he stated. Discussing the characteristics of future conflicts, Chaudhari highlighted the blend of simultaneous application of kinetic and non-kinetic forces, high levels of battlespace transparency, and multi-domain operations. He stressed the need for reimagining conventional warfighting strategies to adapt to these evolving dynamics. 


Militarization and weaponization of space 

Chaudhari reflected on the historical significance of aerial superiority, depicting it as a symbol of national strength and a catalyst for peace and cooperation. He noted how the contest for aerial dominance has shaped the destinies of nations and influenced the outcomes of conflicts throughout history. 


The IAF Chief also addressed the militarization and weaponization of space, emphasizing the critical role of space-based assets in modern military operations. He underscored the need for enhanced capabilities in communication, navigation, and surveillance to ensure the survivability of modern military forces. 

In discussing the evolution of air power, Chaudhari emphasized the importance of manned and unmanned teaming. He advocated for a balanced approach, highlighting the significance of initiatives like the CATS program in realizing this capability. 


Chaudhari concluded by emphasizing adaptability, innovation, and collaboration as key to meeting emerging challenges on the battlefield. His address resonated with the theme of leveraging aerospace power in future conflicts, highlighting the need for nations to stay ahead in the ever-changing landscape of modern warfare. 


Published March 28th, 2024 at 16:44 IST