Yes, the Indian Air Force needs a new doctrine

Source: The post is based on an article “Yes, the Indian Air Force needs a new doctrine” published in The Hindu on 19th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Security

Relevance: challenges with the Indian Air Force.

News: There has been an increase in the indigenization of the defense sectors in India which is leading India towards the Atmanirbhar in defense.

But the doctrine of Indian Air Force (IAF) is old and it needs to be revised to meet the current challenges.

What are the challenges with the IAF?

Weaponization of space: There is a need to examine the role of IAF as space would be a major source of conflict in the future. The weaponization of space with emphasis on unmanned platforms and space assets needs to be addressed.

Capital: Technologies have been increasing with the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Therefore, including these advanced technologies would require good investment which would be a challenge in the future.

Integration: Department of Military Affairs and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) are the new areas that require proper integration with the military forces including IAF. The creation of these two areas should not act as a hurdle for the IAF.

Further, Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and precision attack capabilities of the IAF would need to be merged effectively.

Threat: India faces two major threats: Pakistan and China. Therefore, there is a need for joint operations with friendly nations including commitments in partnerships such as the Quad.

Conflicts: India should also be ready to face future conflicts with other developing economies. India in the future would need raw material from other countries to fulfill its requirement which may be the reason for the conflict from other competitors of the world.

Technology: Multiple technologies in all areas such as cyber, space, electromagnetic spectrum, etc. require proper approach to meet the national objectives Therefore, IAF would require a proper synchronization with these technologies.

Human Resource: The IAF personnel should be trained well to handle new technologies and information from these technologies should not act as a stress for them.

Politics: IAF new doctrine should also focus on keeping IAF out of politics as national defence is a national endeavour.

Combat Enablers: There is a need to integrate combat enablers such as aerial refuellers, Airborne Warning and Control System, transport and helicopter fleets, etc. with the air force. Neglecting them would act as a disadvantage for India as they are required for proper military functioning.

Therefore, looking at challenges of security and limited finance IAF needs a revised doctrine.

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