The ‘Jumbo’ Majumdar Seminar on Dominance of Aerospace Power organized by the Center for Air Power Studies in New Delhi over the last two days had an interesting discussion on the use of the air force in dealing with non-state actors.
Air Commodore Arjun Subramanium, the Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Hindon, near New Delhi presented arguments in favor of the use of air power in imposing the nation’s will on non-state actors.
Explaining the concept of air dominance, the Air Commodore said, “It is the ability of a nation to exert relentless pressure on an adversary from the medium of air and space to achieve strategic objectives or effects.”
He took the example of the Sri Lankan Air Force destroying the LTTE air wing after it became so bold as to strike at government targets and responding to concerns raised by many about the consequences of such an air strike on non state actors in the region, agreed that while there may be short-term escalation, in the long term it would also lead to de-escalation, as in the Sri Lankan example.
“Air power has to dominate the path to conflict mitigation, de-escalation and even conflict termination,” he explained.
But Subramanium also noted the challenges faced in the deployment of such air power against non state actors, including political will, collateral damage, fears of escalation, lack of actionable intelligence and geography in the list of issues. Notwithstanding these hurdles, he said the Indian Air Force (IAF) needs to prepare for the deployment of air power against non state actors.