New Delhi: Indian Air Force started ‘Gagan Shakti’, the biggest war exercise till date, on Sunday with the participation of 1100 fighter jets and more than 15,000 personnel. The war exercise started on both the western and the northern border and in the Indian Ocean with the naval participation is a clear warning to Pakistan and China.
Air Force conducts the ‘Gagan Shakti’ war exercises every two years. The main objectives of the war exercises are to increase coordination between the different divisions and command centres of the Air Force and to develop the capacity and readiness to expeditiously act in a war scenario. But this time the extent of the exercises is much larger.
China is taking aggressive actions against India. There have been reports of China having increased the deployment of fighter jets at the bases along the Indian border. The importance of the Air Force exercises has increased further against this background. The exercises will continue till 22nd April.
The exercises will be conducted in two stages. Firstly, the war preparedness along the northern border will be tested through this. After this, the exercises will shift to the western border. 300 officers along with 15,000 soldiers of the Air Force, 1100 fighter and transport aircrafts from Air Force and navy are participating in this exercise.
All types of fighter jets from the Indian Air Force fleet are participating in the exercises and ‘Tejas’ the Indian made light combat aircraft will be participating in the exercises, for the first time. Other than this, fighter jets of types ‘Sukhoii-30 S’, ‘MiG-21’, ‘MiG-29’, ‘Jaguar’, ‘Miraj’, transport aircrafts of types ‘C-17 Globemaster’, ‘C-130 J super Hercules’, advanced ‘C-17 helicopters’ and also the unmanned aircrafts will participate in the exercises.The capacity of coordinating with the ‘Network Centric Warfare’ system is being tested in these exercises.
Considering the future threats, and recognising the need of participation by the Air Force for actions in the marine region, the Indian navy also has been included in the exercises. Paired with the Air Force jets, the ‘MiG-29K’ of the Indian Navy will conduct war exercises in the Andaman and Nicobar islands region.
Around fifteen days ago, the Indian Air Force Chief B.S. Dhanoa had said that the Indian Air Force is better equipped than the Chinese Air Force. ‘Where there is a question about the capability of the Air Force, India is always superior on that pitch,’ the Air Force Chief had said. Whereas, the Army Chief Bipin Rawat has repeatedly warned that we have to be prepared to fight on both the Chinese and Pakistani fronts. Against this background, India seems to have issued a warning to both the neighbours by conducting the exercises in the northern, western and marine sectors at the same time.