IAF to undergo training exercise to ‘prepare for the two front threat’ of Pakistan, China

The Indian Air Force, with an eye on a two front war due to the threat posed by China and Pakistan, is planning for ‘Gagan Shakti’, a country wide training exercise.

It is scheduled to take place during April 11-12, said a report in the Indian Express. 

The exercise will be conducted in two separate phases for western and northern borders across India and deep over the Indian waters. More than 15,000 IAF personnel, including 300 officers, will move from their bases during the exercise which will see the involvement of over 1,100 aircraft. This would mean 3,000 to 4,000 sorties per day during the exercise.

Stating that “we fight against capabilities” without mentioning the adversaries, IAF sources said that the first phase of Gagan Shakti will see practice by forces deployed along the western border while the second phase will be for practice along the northern border.

Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat last year in June had said that India is prepared for a two and half front war. 

However, Lt Gen Surinder Singh, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command has said that it has never a ‘smart idea’ to fight a two front war.

As per the existing protocol, Pakistan has already been intimated of the exercise. The IAF is struggling with a shortfall of fighter aircraft, with only 31 fighter squadrons in its fleet against an authorization of 42 squadrons. To overcome the shortfall, while dealing with both China and Pakistan, IAF is practising the concept of ‘surge operations’ during the exercise. In surge operations, the IAF will be able to generate more sorties with the same number of aircraft by improving their maintenance and serviceability. This will be the first time when surge operations will be practiced at the level of the IAF.


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