No Plans to Capture Pak Kashmir for Now, Says Top IAF Commander

Srinagar: A top Air Force officer on Wednesday said there was no plan "at the moment" to capture Pakistan-controlled Kashmir (PcK), but expressed the hope that someday India will have the "whole of Kashmir".

Speaking to reporters at an event here to mark the 75th anniversary of the Indian troops' Budgam landing, Air Officer Commanding in Chief (AOC-in-C) of Western Air Command, Air Marshal Amit Dev, also said the people on the other side of LOC are not being treated very fairly by the Pakistanis.

"...All the activities which were carried out by the Indian Air Force and the Army (on October 27, 1947) resulted in ensuring the freedom of this part of Kashmir. I am sure that someday, the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir will also join this part of Kashmir and we will have the whole of Kashmir in years to come," he said.

Army re-enacted Indian troop landing of 1947 in Kashmir at Budgam on Wednesday.  KO Photo

However, when asked if the Air Force had any plans to capture the PcK, Air Marshal Dev said there was no plan at the moment.

"(The whole of) Kashmir is one, a nation is one. People on both sides have common attachments. Today or tomorrow, history is witness, that nations come together. We do not have a plan at the moment, but, God willing, it will always be there because people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir are not being treated very fairly by the Pakistanis," he said.

Indian troops had landed in Kashmir on October 27, 1947 as the then Maharaja Hari Singh signed an instrument of accession with India following the Pakistani tribal raids.

The AOC-in-C of the Western Air Command said the IAF faces many challenges, but the basic one is technology.

The rate of change of technology is so fast in the world today that we have to keep pace with that. If any nation which is to grow economically has to have a strong military, we must fulfil our obligation to the nation in the years to come...and we are always ready for the challenge, he said.

The IAF has become a very capable force and in the years to come, "'we will continue to serve the nation with honour"' he added.

Asked about the drone attacks, Air Marshal Dev said they can inflict minimal damage only.

We had equipment against it (drone attacks) ready, and it was deployed here as well. We are now increasing the deployment by further procurement. Drone challenge is a small challenge and we will be able to deal with that challenge as and when it comes, he said.

He said celebrating the 75 years of Budgam landing was a historic occasion.

After the instrument of accession was signed, we moved in our troops quickly and Srinagar airfield was saved and thereafter we launched further offensive and pushed the Pakistani military, which came as Kabalis (tribals), further back.

"I am sure if the UN had not intervened, perhaps, the entire Kashmir would have been ours, he said.

He said the IAF and the Army carried out many other small missions including the operations in Poonch after an airstrip was laid there in a short span of seven days, attacks at Srinagar airfield, in Skardu on ammunition dump, and in Leh.

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