Air Chief BS Dhanoa asks IAF officers to be combat ready

Amidst reports of force mobilisation and deployment of SSG commandoes by Pakistan after continued ceasefire violations, India's Chief of Air Staff B S Dhanoa is reported to have asked his officers to be ready for operations, at a very short notice.

Air Chief Marshal B S DhanoaAir Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa had, in March, written to all officers of the India Air Force asking them to be ready for operations, at a very short notice, according to The Indian Express report.

According to the report, the Air Chief's letter, addressed to 12,000 officers, had also addressed internal issues such as ''favouritism'' in the force, ''sexual harassment'' etc, as per the report.

''In the present scenario, there is an ever persistent sub-conventional threat. Therefore, we need to be prepared for operations with our present holdings, at a very short notice. Training needs to be focused towards this,'' the report quoted the letter as saying.

This is the first time when an IAF chief has written a personal letter to each and every officer, according to the report. However, the report said, Field Marshal (then General) K M Cariappa on 1 May 1950 and General K Sundarji on 1 February 1986 had penned similar missives.

The latest stand-off over Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav has in fact heightened tension between the two neighbours, especially after the International Court of Justice stayed the death sentence awarded to Jadhav.

Defence experts in India believe ICJ's final decision will also go in India's favour.

''In the present scenario, there is an ever persistent sub-conventional threat. Therefore, we need to be prepared for operations with our present holdings, at a very short notice. Training needs to be focused towards this,'' says the letter.

The ''sub-conventional threat'' that has been highlighted by Dhanoa in the letter is in direct reference to the on-going tension with the noisy neighbours Pakistan.

He wanted airmen to stay vigilant, as the number of cross-border skirmishes has increased significantly, apart from the situation of unrest in the Kashmir Valley.

Over the past few days, there have been eight serious instances of ceasefire violation by Pakistan and more than 1,700 villagers from the Valley were forced to evacuate their houses and take refuge in bunkers.

More than 26 villages in the frontier regions of Kashmir have been subjected to heavy mortar firing from across the border. Although the Indian armed forces have retaliated, the neighbours have not stopped the daily onslaught.