On the eve Indian Air Force Day former Pakistani Air Chief Sohail Aman raised serious questions on the professional abilities of Indian Air Force and its fighter pilots. He was talking to defense and security experts during a Roundtable organized by an Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS). Indian Air Force is celebrating IAF Day on October 8. Chief of Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria has released a promotional video on Thursday featuring purported story of failed Balakot Attack. Indian Air Force Chief has also announced an award for Wing Commander Abhinandan’s 51st Squadron.
However, Air Chief Marshal (r) Sohail Aman said that the way Abhinandan’s jet was shot down and the manner in which Indian pilots conducted Balakot raid shows that the Indian Air Force not only lacks professional level planning but the training of its pilots is also very poor. He said, “Look at the level of their training that one of their SU-30 was shot down 25 miles inside of the territory India controls”. He was referring to shooting down of Russian-made fighter Jet SU-30 by a Pakistani pilot from within Pakistani territory.
Indirectly replying to the newly made claim of Indian Air Chief that IAF is ready to fight a war and conduct operations like Balakot raid, Sohail Aman said that Indians Air Force is like a man who gets a knife to threaten opponents but does not know how to do that. He said that during the last fifteen years, Pakistan Air Force has become battle-hardened and post Balakot counter strikes by PAF on Indian targets are like a cakewalk for our pilots. It has become a matter of routine for our pilots to carry out such strikes.
Sohail Aman recalled the post-Uri scenario when India had threatened to carry out strikes inside Azad Kashmir. However, PAF had gone into aggressive postures within hours of the attack which forced Indians to stay away from any misadventure. In September 2016, Kashmiri militants had carried out one of the most devastating attacks on the Indian military in the Uri area of Baramula district of Occupied Kashmir in which more than 18 Indian soldiers were killed. India had immediately blamed Pakistan. Sohail Aman was Air Chief at that time.
Former Pakistani Air Chief also underlined a lack of coordination among different branches of the Indian military. He said that they shot down their own Mi-17 on February 27 when there wasn’t a big fight going on. As far as Pakistani standards are concerned, what was happening on 27th February was just a normal kind of operation.
To a question whether Israeli pilots were part of the operation or any Israeli pilot was captured Sohail Amam declined to give any direct answer however he said that if Israeli pilots were involved in Balakot then their professional abilities are also of very poor like Indians.
Sohail Aman said that war is not a solution to Kashmir issue, however, we have to keep ourselves ready for any eventuality. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan very aptly highlighted the Kashmir issue in UNGA. However, there is a need to keep the issue alive consistently.
Brig. (r) Ehtasham, Brig (r) Amir, Director NIPS NUST, Air Commodore. (r) Dr. Anjum Sarfraz, Advisor NIMA, Mr. Abdullah Hamid Gul, Chairman Tehrik Jawanan Pak/ Kashmir, Brig (r) Saif Malik, Head of Department Muslim University, Ghulam Muhammad Saffi leader Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu Kashmir, Abdullah Khan Managing Director PICSS, Brig. (r) Muhammad Khan, Professor IR, IIUI and others were among the participants in the roundtable.