R Dutta choudhury
GUWAHATI, Nov 11 – Proper utilization of the full capacity of the Indian Air Force (IAF) could have made a big difference in the war with China in 1962, said former Vice Chief of the IAF, Air Marshal PK Borbora. He also observed that the pace of development of infrastructure along the Indian side of the international border is yet to reach the desired level.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Air Marshal (Retd) Borbora said that the Air Force was not used properly to its full strength during the Chinese aggression and the aircraft kept in Tezpur were not utilized. “From what we have leant later is that the Government of India was of the view that if the Air Force was used to its full strength in the war China might resort to bombing of different towns and cities of India,” he added.
On completion of 50 years of the Chinese aggression, Air Marshal Borbora said that though India learnt its lessons from the war, the pace of the corrective measures was not up to the desired extent. He said that for various reasons, the pace of development of infrastructure was very slow for years and only recently, the Government has started initiating steps in this regard and it would take at least 10 years or so for reaching the desired level of infrastructure development. The Government has now taken up several road projects and efforts are on to take railway lines close to Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Such steps should have been taken long back as it would have been helpful for the people of those states, he pointed out.
Air Marshal Borbora said that the Air Force has added teeth in the last four years or so in the areas bordering China and even Sukhoi squadrons have been put in place in Assam to deal with any eventuality, while, new air fields and helipads are also coming up. Air to air refueling facilities are also being introduced.
The former Air Force officer pointed out that in terms of numbers, India cannot match the Chinese Army, Navy and Air Force. But India has a force strong enough to deter the Chinese from going into any misadventure in future. He said that the Indian forces are now strong enough to defend the country against any misadventure.
However, Air Marshal Borbora expressed the view that there would not be an all out war between India and China at this moment as both the countries have nuclear weapons and if pushed to the wall, “one might be tempted to push the red button.” Both the countries know each others positions and capabilities, which would prevent an all out war. But there would be niggles here and there till both the countries manage to find permanent solution to the boundary disputes, he warned.