former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa
Former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa | ANI

New Delhi: Noting that the probability of a conflict between India and China can never be ruled out, former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa Friday said that while on paper the Chinese Air Force has huge capability, a lot of natural and logistics factors are flying against it.

Chairing a session of the Military Literature Festival, which is being held online this year due to the Covid pandemic, he argued the Indian Air Force can actually provide a credible punitive action in the Himalayas as against the People’s Liberation Army’s Air Force (PLAAF).

Ads code goes here

Speaking about the ongoing stand-off in Ladakh, Dhanoa said, “Probability of India-China skirmish can never be ruled out.”

He added that the Chinese believe in the old Soviet era doctrine of their main offensive being missile and rocket-based.

Dhanoa further said that today’s China is not the same China that fought in Korea. “Taking large casualties is something that a developed China with one-child policy cannot take,” he explained.

About the PLAAF, the former IAF chief said, “On paper, the PLAAF has a huge capability and is supported by a much larger economy funding a defence budget, which is almost three times ours. This is a public defence budget in which a lot many things are hidden.”

He noted that the PLAAF has 1,500 fighters, of which 800 are fourth generation.

Dhanoa further said China has also deployed a limited number of fifth generation fighters — J-20 and J-31 — and has also completed the induction of 24 Su-35 that it procured from Russia and the S-400 air defence system.

Also read: China wanted ‘no escalation’ on hotline call in the day, tried to capture territory at night

‘Effect of terrain has to be taken into consideration’

Talking about the PLAAF strength, Dhanoa said China has strategic bombers and has also deployed advanced AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System), besides having a large fleet of UAVs, including stealth UAV.

He added that the Chinese have rocket forces deployed, which have the ability to target all military installations opposite them and also in the hinterland.

“It has developed Electronic Warfare to counter the US. So it has more than a match for our technology. But the bottom line is how credible are these technologies when we look beyond the Himalayas into Tibet,” Dhanoa said.

He questioned how much of this force can be brought against India given the state of infrastructure in Tibet and Xinjiang.

“Effect of terrain has to be taken into consideration. It has an impact on aircraft operations due to altitude and extreme cold. It has an effect on targeting and weapons ballistic, specially because their adversary, which is us, is likely to be dispersed. It has got serious issues on radar’s line of sight resulting in very poor trans-frontier visibility,” Dhanoa added.

He said all of these result in very low reaction time and by the time the IAF fighters cross the Himalayas, the Chinese will have less time to react. 

Also read: India in Ladakh is breaking ‘China is invincible’ myth. Pentagon needs to catch up


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram


  1. This ex Air Chief should have been fired after Feb 27th, 2019 debacle .That day India not only lost aircraft’s, helicopter but most importantly its prestige.
    Su 30 ‘s had to flee the air battle, mirages could not fire their missiles…..Not a single missile was fired by IAF….against PAF………….Now he he talking about defeating world class PLAAF……….He should be kept away from military matters !!!

  2. I can make no claim to special knowledge about defence matters. But sir, won’t Drones matter? We have seen what drone based attacks did to Armenia in the war with Azerbaizan. China has mastered drone technology, whereas India buying them.

  3. There will always arguments for and against as to what will happen.
    But a war must have an objective, would China invade India and occupy it? Is she aiming for occupying some area with huge natural resources? Is she wanting to add the huge man-power from India? OR IS SHE JUST TRYING TO GIVE INDIA A BLOODY NOSE TO PEOVE A POINT?
    If this be the sole objective, a cost benefit analysis will show that the bloody nose will come with a price tag unlike in 1962. Granting all the superiority, a no cost operation is unlikely and a costly bloody nose operation will not be something China will go for.
    When fighting an adversary even with partially matching deterrence capabilities, all the listed advantages have to be weighed against such capabilities.
    Only a limited action can be risked but that too at cost and more so with a good chance of loss of face worldwide. IT CANNOT BE A CAKE-WALK

  4. Pragmatic China doesn’t need to even fire one bullet. It will let nature General Winter teach the aggressor an unforgettable painful lesson.

    If it wanted to hit India, it will be 10x worst than 1962 punishment in one sided onslaught due to huge disparity in China military modern forces only match by US.

    With China superior air space control, EW and ability to shutdown GPS, blinded India is just a sitting target for its AI drones and multi rocket fire.

    Moreover, India broken logistic can barely survive a 10days intense war, let alone in Ladakh highlands. When ammunition and fuel run out, IA is just a stone age military.

    As bitter winter start taking huge toll on IA, India is anxious to quickly strike deal with China for withdrawal of its 200,000 freezing jawans before supplies run out in months.

    But China has preemptive by openly declared India has to take full responsibility for its aggression and incursion violating 1959 LAC. Also India must unilaterally withdraw from all its invaded 6 peaks, esp Kailash to have meaningful talk.

    Hence India’s Modi, Rajnath & Rawat brinkmanship of Feb2020 incursion till 30Aug reckless intrusion into China LAC to get more bargain chip while in negotiations, has now return to haunt India.

    It can neither withdraw from Kailash lest losing face, nor move forward fearing a crushing humiliating defeat 10x worst than 1962 punishment. Yet IA has no logistic ability to survive highlands bitter winter.

    China will unlikely to let go India unscathed like Doklam incursion, without letting this coldest winter in 20yrs to teach India an unforgettable painful lesson for its alliance with US QUAD to threaten its security, the illegal annexed of J&Kashmir and Ladakh, and attempt to invade its Arsai Chin with new India map including it.

    Jaishankar pushing of West alliance foreign policy to fight China aggressively has brought disaster to India.

    Asymmetrical warfare and COVID pandemic will cripple India economy, while the perpetual standoff and arm racing continue to bleed all India little resources.

    China will start to prepare Pak, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives and North Eastern states freedom fighters to resist India aggression since 1947.

    No matter how much Rawats and all India military chiefs boast on India readiness for 2.5 war fronts, reality will be cruel when it happens. US will not risk losing its global power to help India fight China. Russia, Pak & Iran will assist China if US tries to interven in any form like Navy blockade.

    Brahmaputra river and upstream dams will be another lever in war time.

    Modi RSS has self digged grave for India to help US fight China to last Indian, instead of riding on China’s wave like all Asians to usher in golden Asia Century.

    • Lol, we still captured China’s territory this year in Kelash. Not to mention, in 1967 Skirmish, we defeated you all and later on. Sikkim became India’s state. Not to mention, in 1980s skirmish, your Premiere invited our PM in China. For thousand of years, China has been influenced by Buddhism which came from India… Without firing a bullet.

      Your destiny is to be a servant of India. 1961 was a fluke. India is the real deal. We are so much weak yet we can stop you. Imagine the rampage when we will become strong.

    • I am unable to make out whether this person is a Chinese mouthpiece, or a Porki enjoying vicarious thrill based on Chinese strength. Let him rest assured that India is not a walk over. India has far more battle experience than China. Soldiers do matter, not just overwhelming number of weapon systems and technology. Man behind the machines is important. India need not be afraid of strategies taught in some ancient Chinese book, or huge defence budget of China.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here