In an unusual development, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa has written a ‘personal’ letter to each officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF), asking them ‘to be prepared for operations with our present holdings, at a very short notice’.
“In the present scenario, there is an ever persistent sub-conventional threat. Therefore, we need to be prepared for operations with our present holdings, at a very short notice. Training needs to be focused towards this,” the letter reads.
The ‘sub-conventional threat’ is said to be a reference to the ‘proxy war’ by the Pakistan.
Asking officers to be ‘combat effective professionals’, he writes, “There is no choice but to stay abreast of new technological advancements both own as well as that of our adversaries. Only then will we come out with war-winning, out of the box solutions.”
The letter, signed on March 30, comes within three months of taking over as the Chief of Indian Air Force.
No Air Chief Marshal wrote personal letters to the officers of the IAF. However, two Army Chiefs (Field Marshal (then General) K M Cariappa on May 1, 1950 and General K Sundarji on February 1, 1986) had in the past shot off similar letters to the officers.
The letter also deals with a range of issues including the complaints of favouritism and sexual harassment in the force.
“We have been witness to a few instances of ‘favouritism’ in selection of officers for prime assignments and promotions. This is something we can ill afford,” the letter reads.
The IAF is authorised 42 squadrons of fighter aircraft but its current holding is down to 33.