By Air Vice Marshal Satish K Jain
12 Aug , 2015
In the aftermath of Lahore, Feb 99, India was looking forward to easing of tensions with Pakistan. Various confidence building measures were being toyed with. There was hope.
The phoney peace was shattered rudely within a few months. The Pakistani intrusions detected by the Army in the Batalik sector initially seemed like not something extraordinary. The numbers suspected to have intruded were initially thought to be very small, and the task of evicting them was also assessed as relatively easy. It was in this context that the Indian Air Forces (IAF) was asked by the Army on 11 May 99 to send in a few attack helicopters to rocket the intruders. Assessments were made. It was clear that attack helicopters of the class held would not be able to operate in the area reported. Even until much later in May 99, the full nature and extent of the intrusion remained unclear. The IAF also opined that if the intrusions were serious, adequate force with use of properly equipped fixed wing aircraft would have to be used as part of a well orchestrated, thoroughly prepared operation across the frontier. The IAF had also taken note of the large losses taken by helicopters to ground fire in the Vietnam and Afghan wars.
Op Safed Sagar