NEW DELHI: The recently concluded Gagan Shakti 2018 exercises of the Indian Air Force (IAF) were not war games against any country in particular, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa has said.
"Gagan Shakti was to exercise our resources. It was not against any country. what we did in exercise Gagan Shakti is that we have walked the mile," Dhanoa said, reported news agency ANI. During the course of the exercises, the IAF had specifically mentioned that it had played out scenarios for a two-front war.
The IAF conducted the 13-day drill to exercise every single one of its assets and to verify and validate its operating procedures for the whole range of roles and responsibilities in the security apparatus. "IAF exercised its entire war fighting machinery to validate its concept of operations and war waging capability. The focus of the exercise was to check the viability of our operational plans and learn meaningful lessons," a statement had read.
The IAF had in earlier statements said it had also practiced its response to scenarios where nuclear or chemical attacks have been carried out and played out the measures it would take on the fighting, maintenance and humanitarian fronts.
The exercises had seen the IAF move its assets rapidly between the eastern and western sectors. It had also practiced maritime operations in conjunction with the Indian Navy. It had even demonstrated its ability to use fighter aircraft stationed in the eastern part of the country for operations on the western seaboard, over the Arabian Sea.
Another major aspect of Gagan Shakti 2018 had been the operational testing of the newly-inducted HAL Tejas supersonic nuclear-capable single-engine multirole fighter aircraft.
The IAF also played out a number of scenarios where it would have to work with not just the Indian Army, but also with the Territorial Army, civil administration and the various defence PSUs, just as it would in the event of a real war.
(With input from ANI)