Wargame wins praise from unlikely quarters
The immense scope, dimension and huge effort that has gone into the ongoing Indian Air Force’s (IAF) war exercise Gagan Shakti, possibly IAF’s biggest till date, has drawn grudging but effusive praise from unlikely quarters — the state-run Chinese media.
In China, media reports have to be vetted by the government, so in a way they reflect the government’s stand and line of thought.
A report in a leading news aggregator Zhaizao declares that such large-scale air exercises are at present difficult for any other country except the United States and if India indeed has involved more than 1,100 air force assets then Russia and China will have to change their assessment of India.
The report marvels at India’s ability to involve hundreds of Su-30MKIs and MiG-21s, Jaguars, MiG 27s, and MiG 29s, including Navy MiG-29Ks, LCA fighters, and transport aircraft of various sizes besides helicopters and arming/detection/ refuelling aircraft in the giant exercise which is a “demonstration of the development results of the past 10 years”.
The report, loosely translated from Mandarin, says: “We cannot but affirm India’s progress in these years’ progress. In 2008, the Indian military had announced that the operational availability rate of its domestic Su-30MKI was only 50 per cent, and that after 10 years, it actually reached 90 per cent of the time it could be dispatched…This shows that the Indian military has strengthened its emphasis on maintenance work and other logistic tasks”.
On the fact that about 10,000 ground support personnel working together and more than 3,000 air sorties were being planned, it said: “It also shows that India has established and established a complete logistics system”.
On much-delayed LCA project, the report says that despite being very late, LCA over the last 30 years has produced a bountiful harvest of a very large number of “technicians cultivated and promoted through LCA research and development”.
Besides testing IAF’s war-readiness, the other big objective of Gagan Shakti is to study the logistical sustainability of a “short, intense and swift” war as they are predicted to be in future.
“In terms of scale, magnitude, timeframe, geography and nature of activation of every component of IAF’s fighting machine, Gagan Shakti 2018 is a monumental one where the entire range of IAF assets including light, medium, heavy variants of various aircraft are being used. It is clearly the simulation of a ‘swift, intense and short’ two-front conflict. It is not just an exercise but an actual real-time simulation of a war,” said Air Vice-Marshal Kapil Kak (Retd).
Source:- The Asian Age