The drone hype is a ploy to coerce the IAF to toe army line


The writer is of the view that the drone attack on the Jammu air station, if anything, is a hoax. There is no evidence to corroborate its occurrence. Yet, it is being hyped in Indian media to portray the IAF as an incompetent force. The air chief is being strained by the chief of defence staff  Bipen Rawat to say “yes” to the proposed “theatres”. The IAF chief has reservations about utility and efficacy of the theatres.

Neither the IAF tweet, nor the First Information Report mentioned a drone attack at the Jammu air Station. Preliminary investigation by India’s elite National investigation Agency also announced that no debris of any drone or UAV has been found on the scene of the incident.

Drone obsession

India, nowadays, sees drones everywhere, even hovering over the Indian High Commission at Islamabad. Yet, it has so far hesitated to blame Pakistan or any Pakistani militant group for the mysterious drone attack.

Inspire of this bitter truth, India’s chief of defence staff, Bipen Rawat in his YouTube interview openly blames Pakistan for the drone attack in Jammu. When asked why he did not order a retaliatory action, he replied that he would have retaliated if there had been any damage to the assets (helicopters or other aircraft parked at the Jammu air station).

It is eerie that neither the IAF nor the investigating agencies have as yet found evidence of any drone attack. Yet, the CDS presumes that a drone attack has in fact taken place. He implied that Pakistan deliberately avoided harming any of the aircraft. Pakistan just wanted to convey a message to India of a paradigm shift in techniques of warfare.

The CDS ignored the fact that a drone needed a launching pad nearby. But, there was no suitable place around the air station up to even 16 kilometers off.

Anti-drone capability

India boasts that it has developed anti drone systems indigenously. Its Defence Research and Development organisation will soon install these systems on all important installations.  To be effective these systems need to be enforced through help from all the three services. A maritime anti-drone system also has been developed.

Purpose of drone hype

India has been persistently complaining that Pakistan uses drones to drop fake money, drugs, and arms and explosives. The factual position is that India is far off from developing any such systems. If they had any such system, they should have used it to hit drones trespassing the Indian Territory.

The tone and tenor of the Indian media and the CDS Rawat has marked similarity. The underlying purpose is to assure the gullible Indians that Rawat’s idea of “integrated theatres” will safeguard India against all land, air, and sea attacks. The presumption is that the Jammu air station could not detect, or shoot down the intruder drone as it had no anti-drone cover within the framework of “integrated theatres”. To push over the IAF, Rawat has stipulated about a year’s deadline for completion of the “theatres”.  He has created the impression in the Indian minds that the IAF has “throw2n the spanner in the theatre works”.

In an interview with IndiaToday, the IAF chief dispelled the impression. He did admit that he has reservations about the “theatres” ; he added that he had expressed his point of view during official deliberations.

Rawat was asked whether legislation would be necessary for the idea of the “theatres. He replied that no legislation was necessary as this idea was enshrined in the Kargil Review Committee report. He lamented that despite the lapse of about twenty years since the Kargil episode, the idea was still to take off.

Concluding remarks

Indian CDS Rawat wants to emerge as a super general by commanding the “theatre commands”. The IAF has misgivings that the command would whittle down the IAF’s decision making authority. The CDS makes no bones in claiming that the IAF was just a supporting arm. It is supposed to assist the other services in operations. India is more likely to buy Rafale drones for a hefty commission. Already France is investigating wheeling and dealing in purchase of Rafale aircraft. 

Amjed Jaaved
Amjed Jaaved
Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been contributing free-lance for over five decades. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is author of seven e-books including Terrorism, Jihad, Nukes and other Issues in Focus (ISBN: 9781301505944). He holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law.


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