New Delhi: The outcome of the 1962 war with China would have been different had the Air Force been used in an offensive role, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne said on the conflict in which India suffered a humiliating defeat.

He said the Kargil conflict of 1999 would have dragged for another three months had the IAF not been used.

"Yes, no doubts about that. If air power was used at that time, the outcome would have been totally different," he said when asked if the result of the 1962 war would have been different had air power been used.

The IAF chief was addressing the annual Air Force Day press conference.

The issue of IAF not being used in the 1962 war is still debated by military historians and experts and there is no clarity as to why the air force was not used in that war.

Browne said IAF was not allowed to be used in an offensive role and confined only to provide transport support to the Army and said "these are open and glaring lessons we should have imbibed".

"But this time, I can assure you there will be no such limitation. The IAF will play a leading role in not just against that or any other sector but anywhere," the IAF chief said.

He said a seminar will be held on October 26 to discuss if the result of the 1962 war would have been different had the IAF been used and "we are convinced that that it would have been different."

Taking credit for ending the Kargil war, Browne said, "If IAF had not got into the war at right point of time offensively, the Kargil conflict would have continued for another three months at those impossible heights for our young jawans and officers to be climbing up and losing lives.

"It is air power, which concluded that war."

Asked if it was "a blunder on part of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to not use the air force", Browne said, "It seems you have read the book 'Himalayan Blunder' and I don't want to add to the confusion to that."

"In the hindsight, one can learn lessons from the history and these are open and glaring lessons we should have imbibed," the IAF chief said.

The IAF Chief said the armed forces were focusing a lot on the northeastern sector a number of projects to upgrade the infrastructure there were going on.

"We are focusing a lot in northeast in terms of infrastructure," he said.

Listing the steps taken by the IAF to strengthen its presence in northeast, Browne said six new C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft would be deployed in Panagarh in West Bengal to take care of the Eastern sector and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory.

He said two squadrons each of the frontline Su-30 aircraft and the yet-to-be-procured Rafale combat fighters would be deployed in the northeastern sector.

Browne said the Government has also cleared a project worth Rs 1,750 crore to upgrade the Advanced Landing Grounds and helipads in the northeastern sector but that was not moving speedily due to various reasons.

He said the IAF wants these ALGs to be capable of operating aircraft such as the C-130J and the C-17 heavylift transport aircraft as operating only helicopters would not be of much help.

(Agencies)

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