|HOME | NEWS | THE KARGIL CRISIS | REPORT|
June 19, 1999
Can't put time limit on operations: Air Marshal Tipnis
Shireen in Hyderabad
Air Chief Marshal A Y Tipnis, chief of air staff, Saturday said that India is prepared for any escalation of the conflict at Kargil where the Indian army and air force have launched joint operations to flush out the Pakistan-backed intruders.
Speaking to newsmen here after reviewing the combined graduation parade of air cadets and pilots at the Air Force Academy at Dundigul on the outskirts of Hyderabad, Tipnis said that "though the support for the intruders continues from across the border, we are showing restraint and not crossing the Line of Control" in the Kargil and adjoining sectors.
Reminded about Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz's contention that the Line of Control was not clearly marked out, the air force chief said "there is no need for reassessing the LoC. The LoC has been delineated but not demarcated on the ground.''
Responding to a question as to why he took time off to come to the air force academy for the graduation function when operations were on in Kargil sector, he remarked, "A brief is not needed. Commanders are there to take care of small actions like this. It is not total war. It is a small and limited action. But it cannot be taken lightly. We are prepared for any escalation (of the conflict)."
He said, "Since 1971, this is the first time that the air force is being used. The Indian Air Force has been called in to limit the casualties. The effect has been telling. We have contained the advance of the intruders and began pushing them back. But the action of pushing back has to be done phase-wise and sector-wise. There is a need for patience and a calculated approach."
Contending that "aircraft and weapons are being used optimally according to the requirements," Tipnis felt, "We should not put any time-limit for completing the military operations in Kargil. By doing that, we will be putting ourselves under pressure. Use of air power differs in plains and mountains. It is difficult to take over forward positions as of now."
Terming the IAF's loss of two aircraft and a helicopter in the Kargil operations as unfortunate, he said the loss of human lives was also unfortunate.
He explained that the MiG flown by Flight Lieutenant K Nachiketa had developed some snag and 'flamed up' and Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja who tried to locate Nachiketa's fighter plane became the target of enemy fire.
"Nachiketa, who hails from Hyderabad, has done us proud," he said. "When the chips are down, Indians are stronger than ever," he quipped.
EARLIER REPORT: IAF ready for any escalation: air chief
BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | WORLD CUP 99
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK