Chief Marshal Arup Raha today said that PoK (Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir) would have been India’s, had the country gone for a military solution rather than taking a “moral high ground”. In unusually candid remarks, the Air Force chief termed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as a “thorn in our flesh” and said India did not follow a “pragmatic approach” to security needs.
He said when hordes of raiders attacked Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, it was the transport planes of the Indian Air Force which helped Indian soldiers and equipment to reach the battleground. “And when a military solution was in sight, taking moral high ground, I think we went to UN for a peaceful solution to this problem. The problem still continues. PoK remains a thorn in our flesh today,” he said according to the Press Trust of India.
In recent weeks, as tension with Pakistan has escalated, India’s top ministers have said Pakistan must vacate the portion of Kashmir that it illegally occupies. In his Independence Day address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the people of PoK and Balochistan, the large restive province in Pakistan, have thanked him for calling attention to human rights abuses by Islamabad’s security forces.
The Air Chief Marshal said the only time when air power was fully utilised was in the 1971 war. “But the situation has changed. We are ready to use air power to defend ourselves and deter a conflict,” he said.