Indian Chief of Air Staff Arup Raha on Thursday (September 1) said that had India not been reluctant in the use of military power, especially aero space power, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) would have been a part of India.
He said that PoK remains "a thorn in our flesh" till date.
He stressed that the Indian Air Force was drawn several times in the past when there was a conflict. Aero space power, he added, was utilised to its full potential only during the 1971 Bangladesh war.
Raha emphasized that immediately after India's independence it was the Air Force's transport wing that helped the military by attacking the raiders to retrieve the situation.
“In 1947 immediately after the independence, hoards of raiders from across the border supported by the military and the government from across the border tried to overrun the state of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
"The Indian army on ground was not strong enough, they did not have enough boots on ground to react to this. and prevent them from over running Indian territory," Raha added.
Stating that large number of troops, military equipment, weapons and logistics were brought into Srinagar, Poonch, Leh and other areas Raha said that the air bridging was carried out for several months when the fighter air craft attacked the raiders.
The Air Chief said that reluctance to use aero space power in conflicts should be overcome.
“The nation is ready to use aero space power to defend itself,” he said.
"In 1965 conflict, we did not use air power against Pakistan because of political reasons. Despite several attacks by the Pakistani Air Force operating from east Pakistan, attacking our air bases and infrastructure and air craft on ground, we had serious setbacks but we never retaliated because of political reasons," the Air Chief added.
(WIOn with inputs from ANI)