Indian Air Force’s revised doctrine adopts a holistic approach to the country’s security imperatives

Source– The post is based on the article “Indian Air Force’s revised doctrine adopts a holistic approach to the country’s security imperatives” published in The Indian Express on 14th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Security

Relevance– Future strategies of defence forces

News– Recently air force has released its revised doctrine

Why has India been reluctant to use air power?

There is  inadequate understanding of the inherently complex and rapid technology-driven changes in air power’s characteristics and capabilities.

India has a traditional surface-dominant security outlook. It stems from dealing with a primarily continental threat.

What are salient features of Indian Air Force revised doctrine?

It underscores the necessity of a more holistic approach towards India’s security and what aerospace can do to bolster it.

It provides for a clearer understanding of the redefined characteristics of aerospace power and its expanded capabilities for national interests and strengthening regional security.

It provides a clear articulation of the Service objectives. It has evolved out of combat experience, assessments of international conflicts and its experience gained in international exercises.

It covers the entire spectrum of future aerospace applications. Apart from peace and war, this also includes the unique no-war-no-peace condition confronting the country. State-sponsored terrorism, increasing border stand-offs and internal security challenges make peace in India uneasy.

The doctrine has the potential to accommodate major changes in wartime strategy. It allows for the use of future precepts in the employment of aerospace power in the Indian security context. The doctrine’s focus on the criticality of controlling the skies.

The IAF’s robust joint credentials remain a dominant flavour in its wartime air strategy. It is laterally connected with the land and maritime strategies.

The impacts of IAF offensive capability on the enemy’s politico-military will and ability to wage war have been given significant doctrinal salience. This was evident in the use of air power in the 1971 war when the air force targeted energy systems and communication networks.

The necessity of a multi-domain approach in India’s future joint military strategy, battle space transparency, combat networks, cyber and electronic warfare, information warfare constitute the foundation of IAF’s future air strategy.

Concepts of operations, human resources, training, and operational testing and evaluation remain priority doctrinal precepts.

The document underscores the IAF’s increasing role in the strategy for security and growth for all in the region (SAGAR), as well as in the larger Indo-Pacific construct.

The doctrine acknowledges that other services like civil aviation and space agencies also contribute to this strength. The document refrains from asserting ownership of this arena.

It acknowledges that future aerospace and defence capabilities, related R&D, and associated civil-military industrial capabilities are national force multipliers.

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