'We have no desire to enter Pakistan'
The Group Captain Ganesh Chat
The first of the IAF chats was a huge success, with chatters continuing to discuss the situation in the Kargil heights many hours after Group Captain D N Ganesh logged out. The fighter ace was very illuminating, without giving too much about our battleplans away.
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:23 IST)
Good Evening everybody.
ps (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:7 IST)
DO WE HAVE ADEQUATE RESOURCES TO FACE THE WAR?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:25 IST)
PS: Yes we do.
DDM (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:13 IST)
What if there is a simultaneous attack on us from both sides ? Are we in a position to sustain ?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:26 IST)
DDM: It will be difficult and will stretch the country's resources. But we can do it.
Steven Stephanpoulos (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:26 IST)
Mr Ganesh: I am an aviation correspondent, freelance, posting this message from the United States. I have heard that MI-8 helicopters are flying at heights 1 and 1/2 times their normal range. Is this true? How has this been achieved?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:28 IST)
Steven: Firstly, we are using Mi-17s, and we Indians have become masters of modifications!
raybannew (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:25 IST)
Captain Ganesh: How come the high flying jets, are able to pinpoint the intruders ? And how do you identify them from civilians (if any)?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:29 IST)
ray: By previous intelligence reports. Secondly, we assume there are no civilians close to bunkers, ammunition dumps and intruder positions.
Rohit Varma (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:27 IST)
Has there been an intelligence SNAFU in case of Kargil? And if there has been then how is that we decided to act in what seems to be a wholly haphazardly manner and how are we going to sustain our ops and troops in the winter months during this conflict?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:32 IST)
Rohit: As for a snafu, your guess is as good as mine -- the government intelligence bodies would be in a position to answer. Secondly, I understand that it may look haphazard, but there is a definite method. After all, it took those guys months to just position themselves.
raybannew (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:31 IST)
Group Captain D N Ganesh: How do your planes manage not to CROSS the LOC ? I suppose it is an imaginary line, isn't it?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:35 IST)
rayban: A good question. We mark the position of the LoC on our maps which related to prominent ground features. Even then it imposes a tremendous restriction and limitation on our maneuvering and weapon delivery.
Ryan Kirkland (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:28 IST)
Group Captain Ganesh: Today's big story is that Indian Air Force aircraft dropped chemical bombs in Pakistan. Is this correct?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:38 IST)
Ryan: Absolutely false. We have no desire to even enter this area.
Rohit Varma (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:31 IST)
Isn't modification etc of ancient weaponry a sign of dwindling resources of the forces and isn't it true in this case that we are operating with obsolete weapons?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:39 IST)
Rohit: Not really. Modification is an intelligent and cost-effective way of using available hardware, none of which will be made exactly to user requirements.
DDM (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:32 IST)
What we have done so far to create media opinion in our favour ? We should be careful as this discussion may be observed by all those who are not well wishers.
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:41 IST)
DDM: I hope so, actually. It doesn't really make a difference. While I may not be in a position to tell you everything, I won't give you wrong information.
Indian (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:44 IST)
Captain Sir: Welcome to the Rediff chat. Hope this is a pleasant experience for you. Isn't the tactic of using the IAF to strafe the intruders a little wasteful? I mean given the altitude, the locations of the intruders (less than 3 miles from LOC) and the minimal room for maneuverability, ANY pilot coming in to strafe would be a sitting duck. Plus, he would get about 1 to 2 seconds (max) of actual shooting time. How come this inefficient method was chosen? And why not use the IAF for cover to allow the ground forces to advance instead of being at the forefront of the attack?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:48 IST)
Indian: The targets are not well-fortified, equipment-intensive structures. They consist of tiny groups of two or three men in dispersed bunkers and fox holes. Using any large expensive weapons or PGMs would be wasteful and ineffective. Secondly, in the beginning they were clumped together and needed stopping in a hurry. That is why we took risks in coming down and getting them. Now they are dispersed and in an increasing number of cases, abandoning their positions and running.
Patriot (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:42 IST)
Captain.. initially there were news reports that India was planning to use Napalm bombs. Are we using or going to use them now ? Does Napalm fall under the chemical weapons category?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:50 IST)
Patriot: I do not know, frankly, whether they come under chemical weapons, but we have not used them.
Abhimanyu (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:46 IST)
CAPTAIN GANESH, HOW IS PAF ABLE TO FLY F-14 INSIDE INDIAN TERRITORY AND CHALLENGED ONLY BY ISOLATED POCKETS OF AA BATTERIES?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:52 IST)
Abhimanyu: That was a stray incident you probably read about in the paper. Almost without exception, there is no Pak air activity in our territory.
Abhimanyu (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:49 IST)
INTENSE CARPET BOMBING SHOULD BE FOLLOWED BY MASSIVE DEPLOYMENT OF PARATROOPERS TO SECURE ALL POSITIONS AS GERMANs DID IN WWII
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:53 IST)
Abhimanyu: At the moment, our army is very close, and in some cases in contact with the enemy. In such cases, which is the majority, carpet bombing is out.
Shahezadi (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:49 IST)
Tell me, captain... how much compensation does the family of an IAF pilot killed in action get? And, how much does the family of a jawan get?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:57 IST)
Shahezadi: I am not very sure, but it is mainly the life insurance and provident fund -- there is no special lumpsum for conditions of war. This amounts to about more than Rs 10 lakhs for a pilot and half that for an airman.
senthil (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:52 IST)
Sir, I am a 12 year old. Daily I see news about war. What is going on really?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:59 IST)
senthil: Nothing really -- just a few bad people who we are seeing out.
Aakansha (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:55 IST)
There seem to be conflicting views on the duration of this flushing out exercise. How long do you think this will take? Some say, three months. Is this assumption correct?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:0 IST)
Aakansha: If you ask me, about two months from now.
Aakansha (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:57 IST)
Sir, in your knowledge -- how well equipped and disciplined is the Pak Air Force. How do they match with our Air Force?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:4 IST)
Aakansha: The PAF is well-trained and reasonably well-equipped. But they are smaller than us and, what is most important, are not Indians -- nobody is perfect!
Rajiv (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:3 IST)
Dear Group Captain D Ganesh: How far it is difficult for the Indian pilots to fly avoiding the LoC?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:6 IST)
Rajiv: Very -- It affects our maneuvering and weapon delivery adversely. USAF: I owe you a drink.
someone (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:2 IST)
Sir, what is the long term goal for the Indian defence forces?
Aakansha (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:2 IST)
I had earlier asked what kinds of aircraft are being used for this operation. How many are deployed in Kargil?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:8 IST)
Someone: To get the intruders out, and avoid a recurrence of this hassle. Aakansha: None in Kargil actually. They are all operating from northern bases.
Narayan (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:6 IST)
Group Captain Ganesh: Can this result in a full fledge war? And if yes, are our other border fronts safe?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:11 IST)
Narayan: It could, but we are in okay shape to handle it.
Seema (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:7 IST)
Sir, do we have the power to kill the Paki aggression by any means? And are our aircraft up with the latest technology?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:14 IST)
Seema: Yes, but define "other means" and our aircraft are not the world's most advanced, but are competent for the job.
Indian (Mon Jun 14 1999 5:52 IST)
Captain Sir: Thanks for the answer. I guess the initial use was justified then. With them dispersed all over the place, I am quite sure the task of the ground forces is getting increasingly difficult. When does the monsoon begin there? Sometime in July I think. Is the weather a hindrance or an aid? Also, are we using satellite recco in order to pin point the raiders?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:17 IST)
USAF: Same here, with lime cordial soda and ice, please. Indian:We are using a mere fraction of our force at Kargil, leaving enough to go around!
mukul (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:12 IST)
After evicting the Pakis from Kargil do we have plans to have a permanent posts over there even in cold winters. If so will permanent posts be maintained through the LOC.
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:20 IST)
Mukul: Nobody stays there in winter, but we will be able to monitor the area -- in any case after this operation we hope to resolve that possibility.
Nachikanta (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:15 IST)
Has Flight Lieutenant Nachiketa joined the air base in Kargil?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:22 IST)
Nachikanta: He is back with his squadron, but we do not have a fighter base at Kargil -- YET!
Abhmanyu (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:16 IST)
CAPT. GANESH, WHY ARE INFANTRY UNITS CLIMBING THE PEAKS NOT PROVIDED SUPPORT FROM HELI GUNSHIPS? IS THIS A CASE OF SIMPLE OVERSIGHT?
vagra (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:22 IST)
Why was the Mirage used in this operation?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:25 IST)
Abhimanyu: I will have to check that out with the army -- sorry. Vagra: Mirage is a suitable aircraft. TO EVERYONE: THE SLOW SPEED IS NOT BECAUSE OF TYPING, WHICH IS VERY FAST, BUT LAG. THE REPLIES TO ALL YOUR QUESTIONS WILL BE ON THIS WEB SITE IN 48 HOURS. IN ADDITION WE CAN MAKE IT A BI-WEEKLY CHAT. CHECK THE WEB-SIE FOR MORE NEWS.
Sanjai Kukreti (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:25 IST)
Captain, why have we been using small pin-prick weapons against dispersed and militants, instead of using area-effect weapons? Why cluster bombs, instead of munitions that will inflict destruction on a wider area?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:28 IST)
Sanjai: Clusters would be good solution in flat country where you can fly low and fast, in mountainous areas with your attacks restricted by direction of hills and the LoC, the delivery profile would be unlikely to be available.
mega (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:27 IST)
DEAR MR. CAPTAIN: Is it true that the taped conversation of Pak higher officers was provided by USA?
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:30 IST)
Mega: I think I will leave that one to USAF to answer -- our time is up, PPL, but see you online in a few days. You can also get me at email@example.com
Group Captain D N Ganesh (Mon Jun 14 1999 6:32 IST)
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR THIS CHAT, AND I WISH I COULD HAVE REPLIED TO ALL OF YOU. YOUR QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED WHEN I LOG IN ON THE REDIFF CHAT THE NEXT TIME. CHECK THE PROGRAMME. BYE BYE.