POST OPERATIONS SWIFT RETORT: CHALLENGES AND WAY FORWARD FOR A SMALL AIR FORCE
Keywords:Small Air Force, Powell Doctrine, Stand-off Strike, Balance of Resolve, Weapon Superiority, Combat Effectiveness, Force Integration and Jointness
The aerial incidents after ‘Pulwama’ episode opens an inimitable chapter in the history
of air power as it cemented the pivotal status of air force in the overall security milieu.
A mission executed by a small air force under modern air combat environment which
achieved all its politico-military objectives. However, the incident is the beginning of an
unrelenting story as Indian Air Force (IAF) can never erase this discomfiture and will
respond in future to regain its lost glory and diminish Pakistan Air Force (PAF)
psychological ascendency. The operation has generated several challenges including
psychological and professional for IAF and parity of capabilities for PAF, reminiscence
of which will continue for decades to come. In order to remain vigilant and alert, PAF,
though a small air force in comparison to IAF, needs to maintain its ‘Resolve to
Respond’ by ensuring its effectiveness against all domains of current complex conflicts.
A new approach is adapted by borrowing an academic theory of ‘Balance of Resolve’
from the strategic brinksmanship, identifying six variables, which covers all aspects of
resolve, prudence and inter harmony both at governmental and military levels. The
article focuses on the effectiveness of a small air force on the future consequences of
the operation in the domain of ‘Resolve to Respond’ and a future road map for a
sustainable resolve to address any similar misadventures.
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