New Delhi, May 20: Amidst increasing tensions with Pakistan combined with Kashmir unrest, Indian Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa wrote a personal letter to more than 12,000 officers asking them to be ready for any combat at a very short notice. The letter gave rise to speculations of a face off with the neighbouring country. However, the letter appeared to addressed issues that the force has been grappling with. Insiders suggest Dhanoa expressed his opinion on issues ranging from favouritism to sexual harassment in the force. The move was seen unprecedented by security analysts as Dhanoa is the first Air Force Chief who has written such a letter to his officers. Dhanoa took control of the force three months ago.
The letter read, “In the present scenario, there is an ever persistent sub-conventional threat. Therefore, we need to be prepared for operations with our present holdings, at a very short notice. Training needs to be focused towards this.”
Coming down heavily on the instances of favouritism, the chief of the Air Staff wrote,“we have been witness to a few instances of ‘favouritism’ in selection of officers for prime assignments and promotions. This is something we can ill afford.” However, Dhanoa put rest to the questions about the participation of the families in activities of Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA) calling their contribution ‘voluntary’. He said the performance is not judged by these activities and force must focus on performance in operations. He wrote, “stations are not judged by their performance in these activities but on operations”.
Indian Express reported BS Dhanoa’s letter tried to invoke professionalism in operations. The letter read, “there is no choice but to stay abreast of new technological advancements both own as well as that of our adversaries. Only then will we come out with war-winning, out of the box solutions.” Similarly, Dhanoa appeared concerned with the recent reports showing Air Force in bad light. The letter further reads, “abusive behaviour, resorting to physical intimidation and behaviour amounting to sexual harassment by seniors is not acceptable”. However, the Indian Air Force did not issue an official statement regarding the move. IAF spokesperson too refused to comment on the matter and termed the letter an internal communication.