Joint warfare can help win wars, save resources:Vice Air Chief

New Delhi, Sep 29: Joint warfare can help the country win wars and save its resources, Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal S B Deo today said even as he asserted that mutual trust, character and focus on objectives are key elements to ensure its efficacy. During the inaugural address at the 14th Subroto Mukherjee Seminar here on Joint Approach to Warfare in the Indian Context, he, however, underlined the issues of "structures and SoPs" (standard operating procedures). "The subject (joint warfare) is very topical. I will be carrying coals to Newcastle, if I said, a joint venture is essential to winning wars," Deo said.

The Vice Chief, who earlier served as the Air Officer Commanding in Chief (AOC-in-C), Western Air Command, also emphasised that India is a developing country and thus an integrated approach to warfare can also help it grow. "Our defence budget is limited, and it (India) is not a country that can can afford duplicating capabilities... Our resources are limited, and it is in this context that we need to look at joint venture (in warfare)," he said, adding, the need for joint venture is also to ensure that "defence spent is focussed".

He also said that when "We did the first cross-border strike, our helicopters, Mi-35s and other aircraft, flew all the way from Pathankot, to be ready for any eventuality." However, he did not specify, which cross-border strike, he was referring to. Deo added that it is important for "us to be truly joint" and nothing in more important than that "there is joint planning and mutual trust". Pitching in favour of joint warfare, Deo said it would "tell us that we are in a position to win wars without taking too much from our resources of the country".

The senior Air Force official said for the integrated approach to be successful, "character and staying focussed on objectives" are important elements, but there are issue of structures and SoPs. "US defence secretary (James) Mattis was in India recently and he spoke of coalition operation. And, coalition operation does not move at the speed of SoPs or structures, but they move at the speed of trust," Deo said.

It (joint warfare approach) has to be institutionalised, and with "short-sighted focus on structures" we might miss the wood for the tree, he said. "I hope this seminar can generate some action points, which the services can act on," he added. Air Marshal (retd) Vinod Patney, Director General of the CAPS (Centre for Air Power Studies), which organised the seminar, and several other senior officers from the Army, Navy and the Air Force spoke on the joint warfare topic.