Military & Aerospace

Interview with Air Chief Marshal SK Mehra, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC, Chief of the Air Staff
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Issue Jan-Jun 1990 | Date : 02 Nov , 2021

In a wide-ranging and candid interview with the Editor of Indian Defence Review on 01 December 1989, the CAS spoke about the role of the IAF in the context of emerging South Asian scenarios towards the close of the twentieth century, about modernization plans for the IAF, indigenous production of modem state-of-the-aircraft and associated systems, manpower planning, morale and welfare measures and much else. Excerpts:


In the ,context of the IAF’s ability to project air power on the subcontinent, the CAS stated that the IAF is basically a tactical Air Force and that there were no plans to project air power beyond the immediate security zone. The area of operations is limited by its reach and within this constraint it is capable of defending national air space and of undertaking all facets of offensive air operations. Air power is a deterrent against any adventurism in the region. For this deterrence to be credible, the Air Force must not only be able to absorb a pre-emptive attack by the enemy but also must be able to react strongly and swiftly at a time and place of its own choosing.

Expounding this theme, the CAS stated that air power the world over has been used effectively, and cited the examples of Israel in its many conflicts and the USA against Libya as a show of force and retaliation against terrorism. So, what do we expect from air power in this context? Firstly, should the initiative not rest with us, to absorb enemy’s air strikes and cause maximum to his offensive air capability and then to retaliate with strength against the aggressor’s airfields, road/railway network, military, industrial, and command and control centres? Secondly, should the initiative rest with us, the air power effort in the first instance would attempt to put the enemy air force out of action to the extent possible.

Another military aspect of air power is the balanced force concept. Air power does not only mean air defence and strike capability. It includes airlift capability in terms of helicopters and transport aircraft, state-of-the-art weapons which include surface-to-air, air-to-air and air-to-surface guided weapons, radars electronic warfare (EW) capability. It is all these elements that combine to make a balanced air power. So when one develops one’s air power one does it as a balanced force. This will remain the IAF’s policy.

As far as tasks of the Air Force are concerned, they comprise classical ones in the conventional sense, counter-air, close interdiction, reconnaissance, air defence, etc. However, the IAF has to cope with something very different from other air forces of the world which is peculiar to our environment, and that is operations over high-altitude terrain on our Northern and North-western frontiers. No other air force in the world is required to cope with such altitudes. Because of this we have to take special care in procuring/manufacturing aircraft for the Air Force. This is especially so for helicopters which must have the capability to operate at these altitudes with reasonable payloads.

On the question of a worst case scenario of having to fight a war on two fronts (or for that matter one and a half fronts), the CAS stated that our capability is directly proportional to our resources. We would like to have an Air Force large enough to tackle both fronts but the resources have limited us to 45 squadrons. One of the inherent characteristics of air power, the CAS added, is flexibility which enables one to switch the air effort from sector to sector or theatre to theatre with adequate force on time-relevant targets in the shortest possible time. For example, he said, air effort can easily be switched between Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir on an as-required basis.

Another characteristic of air power is mobility which enables the transport aircraft Air Force to reach any place in India including our island territories, or for that matter some littoral states of the Indian Ocean region when required. He cited the examples of Sri Lanka in 1987and the Maldives in 1988 when a specific request was made for assistance. At the same time, the CAS added, we would like to see that all the neighbouring countries around us have access to air routs/sea lanes of communication without interference.


The CAS expressed his views on how the IAF would support the ground forces in battles. He was of the view that since air power is so critical and decisive today, it cannot really be considered as a support arm of either land or the sea forces, and that the word ‘support’ should be substituted by ‘Joint Operations’ – Joint Operations/Air Operations and Joint Sea/Air Operations would be more appropriate terms.

In looking at joint operations, he stated, the IAF would firstly be involved in keeping the air space above the battle zone clear. Air defence is the responsibility of the Air Force and so is air space management. Over the battle zone this will be done through joint Army/Air organizations.

In an airland battle, again the classical air force roles come into play, such as close support to army to augment organic artillery, interdiction and photo and electronic intelligence. The IAF will operate with updated state-of-the-art systems, which would ensure an uninterrupted land battle. Expanding on his explanation, the CAS that people talk about sea control! Sea control is not until you control the air above. Air is becoming such a critical medium that everyone wants to dominate the air space, be it over land or sea and this will be the objective of the IAF.

With regard to a more dynamic and intimate response to Army/Air operations, the CAS stated that the Army and the Air Force have been engaged in an ongoing dialogue streamlining procedures for reducing reaction time in engaging targets at the Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA). The organization and procedures today, like the Joint Army Air Organization at command level and Joint Operations Centre (JOC) at corps level, though having originated during the Second World War, have been battle-tested. There is always room for improvement, but the CAS did not envisage any major organizational changes at this point of time. What is required, he said, is communications, intelligence, and direct one-to-one contact between the land formations/units and the bases.

As for reaction time, the CAS stated, there are certain limitations under which strike aircraft operate. However, we have strike aircraft standing by in readiness -armed and ready to go and thereby cutting down on reaction time -it depends on how far the located from the target area. Another method to reduce reaction time is to have an air alert with armed aircraft patrol at a vantage point awaiting a call from the Forward Air Controller (FAC). This, however, is an expensive, and often exercise. Notwithstanding this, if the situation demands it, it will have to be done. But in the type of battle visualized (swift flowing mechanized operations and tank-to-tank battles), where the FEBA is constantly changing, target recognition is a major problem when own/enemy are in close proximity of each other (for example, we have the T-55 and Pakistan has the Chinese T-59, both derivatives of the original T-54 tank).

On a query from IDR whether it would not be more advantageous to co-locate the Services Headquarters at command (theatre) level to facilitate joint planning and for closer integration of the concerned Services, the CAS stated that this was highly desirable: not only co-located, he said, but preferably in the same building -so that the C-in-C Army or C-in-C Air could walk over to each other’s office or operations centre and talk over a situation in ‘real time’. But presently the geographical locations of the Army and Air Force commands are such that the resources required to effect co-location are colossal making it impractical. So, what we have done, he said, is that with the Army Command Headquarters we have posted a very senior Air Force officer of the rank of Air Vice Marshal who is designated as Air Officer Commanding, Advance Headquarters. He is a representative of the AOC-in-C and deals with the Army Command Headquarters on a day-to-day basis.

On the IDR’s query with regard to augmentation of the tactical and strategical and strategic airlift capability, the CAS stated that with the induction of the AN-32 and IL-76 transport aircraft into the IAF the airlift and airborne operational capability has increased substantially, both in terms of speed and reach.


Expressing his views on expansion and modernization of the in the context of the emerging military challenges of the late nineteenth and early centuries, the CAS stated that due to resource constraints the IAF will remain at its present 45 squadrons strength at least till the turn of the century.

Modernization however, he stressed, certainly needs attention. We are today flying vintage aircraft such as the Hunters and Ajeets, as also the earlier variants of the 1 aircraft which will start phasing out in the early nineties on completion of their technical life -but we have a large number of later variants of MiG-21 squadrons in our inventory. The fleet itself will continue to have aircraft such as the MiG-21 BIS which will be in service till the of the What we are trying to do, he said, is to give them a better capability by improving systems, avionics and load-carrying capability. The trend now is not to increase the number of combat units, but to make the present force more effective. For, he said, when you increase the number of units there is a lot of additional expenditure by way of additional administrative and maintenance infrastructure, like logistic support, living accommodation, hospitals, schools, etc. An economic way of doing things is to add on force multipliers in terms of EW systems, improved avionics, LLTV, FLIR etc. so that you can operate in conditions where earlier you could not. And, the CAS added, we are going to concentrate in that area to enhance our capability.

On the IDR’s query as to whether the IAF was planning to introduce air-to-air which in itself is a force multiplier and would give greater strategic capability, the agreed that air-to-air refuelling does give an added flexibility, range, safety and tactical advantages. But there is the question of resources which is the real key. So, within the resources made available, one has to chalk out priorities and move in that direction.

Questioned by the IDR as to whether there were plans to introduce this force multiplier eventually, the stated that it is in our plans and maybe it will -perhaps in the Eighth Plan period -one will have to wait and see.


The IDR commented that in view of the inherent capability to deliver nuclear weapons (both the Jaguar and Mirage aircraft have this capability, with modification) -particularly in a scenario where a state of nuclear asymmetry and more so as a result of our recent successes with missile technology (successful test-firing of the Prithvi and -there is need for the setting up of a Strategic Air Command. The CAS replied. ‘We have been thinking of a Strategic Air Command for some time now – because as you know, in terms of aircraft we have a small though capable strategic lift capability and a strategic reconnaissance capability as well. Our capability with the IL-76 is not unlimited, but certainly effective (in our context). We can go much further than the tactical area with the reconnaissance platforms that we have. All these resources could be pooled to form a Strategic Air Command. But one must look into the future. With the Prithvi and satellite programmes at this point of time all our efforts in space are for peaceful purposes. What we should really look forward to is something such as an aerospace command, which will envelop all these long-range forces. But if you are thinking of all strategic systems coming under one head, like in the USSR and the USA, I think we are a long way away from that.’


On a question by the IDR on control of airspace the CAS had this to say, ‘An important question, which has been engaging our attention. The management of air space has become vitally important, because the other Services (Army, Navy) have their integral aviation and are covering greater distances and going to greater heights than hitherto. Air space (management) is the responsibility of the in terms of air defence and therefore the AD organization must know at all times, what is moving where for purposes of identification, and to prevent accidents or even interference with each other’s operational missions whilst ensuring freedom of movement.

‘For air space management in the tactical area, we have worked out certain operating procedures with the Army. Now, here once again communications are critical. One can stipulate different height bands or timings for helicopters and fighters or even create corridors safety reasons, but these are unnecessary restrictions and irritants which inhibit tactical initiatives. What is essential is instant communication facility between the forward most to the controlling organization, to the Air Defence Directing Centre (ADDC) which exercises AD control over the area. This will solve most of the problems as adequate and timely exchange of information will be possible. .. . But because of inadequacy in this regard, except in some sectors, we have worked out some Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and laid down certain norms between the Army and the Air Force.’

Coming to the Navy, the said, the responsibility for air defence and maritime strike within range of shore-based aircraft remains that of the -and beyond that naval aviation takes over. On a lighter note, the CAS added: of course, wars like one-day cricket are full of surprises! Should there be a requirement to alter these procedures or interact with the aviation agencies of either or both our sister Services, we shall do so, and iron out any difficulties that may We have done some joint exercises and planning in this regard and, notwithstanding the norms that have been defined earlier, we are constantly reviewing our procedures jointly.

To sum up, air space management over the tactical battle area would be carried out jointly by the Army and the Air Force. The prime responsibility is that of the Air Force.

For effective management of air space it is necessary to have adequate sensors, including those for low-level detection and communication links to all the users of air space for speedy identification of airborne objects and passing of control orders to the ground-based air defence weapons.

For air space management, have been out between the Army and the Air Force (constantly under review and revision), whereby use of air space by fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, in the Tactical Battle Area (TBA) is regulated by stipulating heights for various aircraft/helicopters, demarcation of corridors/transit routes, allocation of time slots, stipulation of transit speeds and nomination of weapon-firing areas.

Subsequently, on availabiity of Control and Reporting Centres (CRC) and automatic data handling systems, we will be able to out positive control of air space which will ensure maximum freedom of action to both airborne objects and surface-to-air AD weapons.


In regard to the research and development of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), the CAS had this to say:

‘First the LCA. To develop an aircraft today requires vast resources and time. It is not that one decides to produce an aircraft today and in two to three years it will be flying. It takes 10 to 15 years to design and develop an aircraft before it enters squadron service. We have undertaken this exercise which started a few years ago and we have only reached the first stage, the Project Definition Phase (PDP). The decision to embark on the next phase of development is expected to be taken shortly. We are conscious that programmes of this complexity require long periods of gestation and we have to be prepared for The ADA under the aegis of the DRDO is handling the project and we are in touch with them. We have some professional differences with them at this point of time which hopefully will be ironed out. The project and technical management problems in a major exercise such as this should not be underestimated, but given the will we should be able to overcome these. It is too early to say when the aircraft will enter squadron service. An optimistic guess would be the second half of the nineties. There have been certain slippages, I must admit.

‘Second the ALS. This programme is going pretty well. In spite of some slippages, we expect the prototype to fly in around 199 1. This helicopter is being specially designed to meet needs of high-altitude operations in the Himalayas. It is going to be a logistics support helicopter, but it can certainly be adapted to weapons.’

Speaking about other projects, the CAS stated, Low Level Radar (Indra Radar) has been developed and tested in the field. The production orders have been given and we hope to be receiving these commencing in 1990. The first production model radar was taken over by the IAF and subjected to extensive field trials. We have, the CAS emphasized, successfully developed this radar as well as a surface-to-air-missile system. Indigenous manufacture of optics and electronics has also proved successful.

Then there is the question of automation of the air defence system. We are progressing very well in this area -all radars must be integrated into a CRC network and fully automated so that reaction time is minimized.

With regard to the private sector being co-opted in development and production of indigenous aircraft and systems, the CAS was all for it and stated that we must involve the private sector in defence. But the problem is, he said, the private sector is looking for commercial profits in a very short time. They want very large orders and the IAF’s requirements sometimes do not make such projects commercially viable. But private sector involvement is necessary if we are to make any progress and if we are to get into the field of export -and the policy now is that we should export whatever armaments we make. As the field of armament production and export (indigenous production, that is) enlarges, I am confident that the private sector will be happy to be involved. We in touch with certain manufacturing units and they are already working for us. I think in the overall context it is a good and wise move to involve the private sector in defence industry.


Speaking on the question of requisitioning of civil aviation aircraft and the control of civil airports/airfields in time of hostilities, the CAS stated that we have the authority in a war situation to commandeer and requisition civil airliners and heavy-duty aircraft. There is an SOP whereby the DGCA and the IAF get together and, as you know, in an imminent war situation certain emergency proclamations are made by the President. On the basis of this, a joint team is set up representing Air Force personnel and Civil Aviation, and whatever we need we get from our airlines (Air India; Indian Airlines, Vayudoot, Pawan Hans). You saw this exercise when we airlifted the better part of an Army brigade from the Eastern to the Western theatre in the 1971 conflict and more recently during the initial concentration and induction of the IPKF into Sri when a number of civil airliners were used for airlift of troops.

More specifically, once hostilities are declared, the IAF decides the extent to which aircraft should be requisitioned for the use of the Armed Forces. Special measures are also introduced by acts of Parliament. For example, the Defence of India Rules 1971 (since rescinded), empowered the CAS, or any other empowered by him, to issue orders to regulate conditions of flight, inspection of aircraft, aerodromes, etc. Operational control of any aerodrome which in peacetime is under the control of civil aviation but is required to be activated for military operations, can be taken over by the Air Force.

To control air space and civil aviation activity, a Civil Aviation Coordination Cell is created at Headquarters with IAF, Airport Authority representatives as members. Control and coordination in the Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras areas is carried out by the respective Movement Liaison Cells which function as the Regional Coordination Centres.


With regard to Army aviation, the views were that, given unlimited resources, an integral air arm for any organization could be established. However, he felt that this is not affordable by developing countries with limited resources. He thought it would be beyond jurisdiction to comment on how the Army Aviation Corps is capable of looking itself. In a country with limited resources, the CAS stressed, these assets should be under one agency for reasons of economy and operational utilization.

Asked for his views on the Army’s desire to expand its aviation to include helicopters in its inventory), he stated that this was the prerogative of the COAS but reiterated his views stated earlier. However, he said, we can still out integration of Army aviation assets and IAF helicopter units, and whenever in trouble one can extend a helping hand to -as cooperation and mutual understanding exist. An existing problem, once again, is operations in the tactical area-management and control of airspace. This is something which has been examined, discussed at length and SOPs have been laid down. But it is a continuing exercise. Effective, reliable communications and information to AD Centres is something extremely important. The Army, the said, is operating its aircraft in the mountains and the plains, but as far as AD is concerned they are netted into the IAF’s AD system.

On the Fleet Air Arm, the CAS stated, with the Navy having acquired a carrier force (two carriers and one more in the offing), undoubtedly a strong fleet air arm has strengthened our Navy when operating beyond the continental shelf. The areas that require integration are in the maritime air strike operations where precision air strikes over the sea are dictated by joint command and control. In this area both the IAF and the Navy must coordinate effectively.


Commenting on the requirement for an Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) capability for the IAF, the CAS observed that AWACS a tremendous force multiplier, and that whichever side gets the AWACS, the asymmetry sets in for the other immediately. There is speculation that will get an AWACS system from the USA -but the fact is they have not got it yet. It is not only the question of getting the platform, it needs integration with AD systems. And AWACS today is not only a defensive system but an offensive one as well, because it can effectively guide the friendly strike forces clear of the threat areas. Now one answer to an AWACS capability is another AWACS to balance the asymmetry, AWACS is a frightfully expensive system in not only purchase, but also in its operation. In case of this asymmetry developing in the subcontinent, there are plans to tackle the situation on which the CAS did not want to elaborate.


The CAS categorically stated that the criticism with regard to flying accidents was unwarranted. We are the only country where every accident is publicized. Sometimes the phenomenon of ‘bunching of accidents’ occurs but in the overall context the accident rate is no worse than other contemporary air forces’.

With regard to ‘bird strikes’, one of the major causes of air accidents, the CAS stated that all possible precautions to minimize strikes are being taken, e.g. study of bi activity restricting low to favourable areas and periods, sanitizing areas, deploying bud shooters and bird warning observers in areas, etc. However, a lot needs to be done by the civil administration in sanitizing areas around and away from airfields, where the IAF has no jurisdiction.

Pilot error accidents, whenever they occur, become a source of concern. Each accident is thoroughly and corrective action taken as required. Of late, the said, we have had some accidents due to technical malfunctions on the A joint study team as well as a team of Soviet specialists investigated this aspect. Both have weak areas in quality control at production level. These are being remedied.

In conclusion, CAS the remarked that in the case of the surface forces, when a tank or a ship develops a defect it is transported or towed back for repair without any casualty or public knowledge. Unfortunately in the case of airborne this is not possible and therefore air accidents get the full glare of publicity -the world over.

The CAS felt that air shows/displays are important to inculcate air mindedness and educate people about the country’s air power. Costs are not substantial. Sometimes pre-planned training exercises terminate with displays. This is an important aspect which continue. Of course, safety of spectators on the ground is an important consideration.


The aspect touched on by the CAS was the shortage of trained pilots about which the IDR had queried him. There was a time when there were not too many takers for the Air Force, the CAS said. However, in the last years there has been a marked difference, with high-dire young men wanting a career in the IAF. This very encouraging. Whether this trend is as a result of the various public demonstrations and air displays or the financial benefits From the Fourth Pay Commission and service perks is difficult to say.

As for a second Air Force (Flying) Academy, since the present one is bursting at the seams, there is clearly a need for it, as we need to train more pilots. Besides, because of the high quality of our training, India gets many requests from countries for training their pilots. Our capacity in this area is at present limited. The plan for establishing a second in South India is in the advanced stages of Government consideration, and hopefully by the first half of the Eighth Plan this will become a reality.

We are also contemplating the introduction of Short Service Commissions (SSC) for pilots, the CAS said. The military hierarchical establishment is like a pyramid, in which the base has to be large. In* the technical stream we have already introduced which has paid rich The SSC technical officers serve for seven years after which they have the option to go out. If they want to stay on, both the individual and the IAF have to agree. The selected lot then become eligible for a Permanent Commission.

For ground technicians we have no problem, the CAS observed. People are coming in, the training standards are being maintained, and the operational units are quite happy with the standard of technical training of our ground crew.

With regard to stagnation at particular levels, about which the IDR queried, the CAS said, we had this problem due to post-1962 recruitments which resulted in a ‘bulge’! Fortunately the bulge is now phasing out. Whatever little is left is moving upwards, i.e. from Wing Commander to Group Captain and Group Captain to Air Commodore. But what has happened since then is that the Fourth Pay Commission has done us well. Previously, increase in pay beyond a certain rank was tied up with promotion. Now, even if you do not get rank promotion you keep getting pay promotion which is something that has helped in a large number of personnel staying on.

On a query from whether the IDR pay and allowances, perquisites and lie after retirement was meeting IAF officers’ and airmen’s levels of satisfaction, the CAS observed that with the implementation of the Fourth Pay Commission and Dearness Allowance linked to Price Index, the pay and allowances for the officers and men are quite satisfactory. New pension rates have helped retiring officers. The Air Force Housing Board has been a great help in solving the problem of housing and post-retirement settlements.

For rehabilitation, IAF personnel are provided opportunities for undergoing training in various disciplines before retirement. We encourage lateral of personnel into various public sector undertakings, the CAS said. In addition, the IAF selectively accepts officers the rank of Group Captain for re-employment.

Notwithstanding the above, the CAS noted, the Services cannot offer terms and conditions that are available in the private sector. We have to highlight the brotherhood and camaraderie aspects and the quality that our campuses offer. This will remain our biggest attraction for inducing young men of proven quality to join the IAF.


On morale and welfare, the CAS stressed that as long as the personnels’ domestic economics are looked after, they automatically put in their best and their morale remains high. The recent enhancement of pay and allowances is an example of how reasonable satisfaction can be achieved.

The IAF is active in welfare measures for its personnel. We have the Air Force Wives’ Welfare Association (AFWWA) which is a very active organization. There are other welfare schemes that are funded from non-public funds and their involvement in bringing succour to the needy is good -in fact very good. The Group Insurance and the Group Housing Schemes are other examples of the IAF’s ongoing welfare measures.

In the resettlement sphere for Air Force technicians, there is no problem. An Air Force technician is today working at the highest level of technology and when he leaves the he is literally grabbed by the private sector. He is his weight in gold. No technician, be he an officer or an airman, has come back to him, the CAS said, to say that he had not got a job outside–not one–and in fact they are very happy. With the training that they receive, their market value once they leave the service is incredible.

On of others at the middle level, Air India places great demands for air crew, and suitable officers are as pilots and crew. Some personnel find their own way into different civilian organizations after completion of their pensionable service. The IAF has sent a large number of pilots to Vayudoot and Hans. The CAS finally stressed that we must treat pilots and technicians as a national resource for the benefit of the country.


We have an Adventure Cell in the Air Force, the CAS informed. The basic arm is to encourage hobbies related to aviation, micro light flying, gliding, hang-gliding or parachuting. To further a spirit of adventure amongst the IAF officers and men, the Air Force encourages participation in national car and does pretty well. Recently, a Tri-service team with Air Force participation completed a round-the-world sailing expedition.

We provide special courses in parachuting and free fall para sailing and hang-gliding. The IAF also organizes mountaineering and expeditions, rafting, canoeing, sailing and wind skiing and horse riding for its personnel and their families on a voluntary basis.

The NCC is another source for selling aviation to the youth. A particular area that we have to give thought to is that of women joining the Air Force. As you know, presently the only women in military service are doctors and nurses. When you the NCC camps, the CAS reminisced, you have a pretty hard time trying to explain to young girl cadets as to why they cannot become pilots in the IAF. The Royal Air Force has introduced women as transport pilots, the US and Canadian forces also have some, though as far as I know, they have not been allowed to fly in combat squadrons or on combat missions, asyet. In fact, the large middle-level manning needs in the Service could be offset to some extent by employing women. We are carefully examining this area. The Air Force Act will have to be amended for it covers only ‘male’ citizens.


On the constantly debated question of the need for a Chief of Defence Staff, the CAS opined that it is the prerogative of the defence analysts to express their views. A functioning system should not be changed for the sake of change as this could become counter-productive. A particular set-up in one country may not necessarily suit the other. The organization depends upon various factors, i.e, geography, operational areas and responsibilities, the civilian hierarchy and what not. The system should be operationally responsive and significant advantages must accrue in case of a change. The Chiefs of Staff Committee concept is working well and this has been substantiated over and over again during operations and other operational exercises.

Expanding on this view, the CAS stated that the COSC is served by a fairly effective Defence Planning Staff (DPS), which has been established to carry out special tasks and studies. We could from time to time revise the DPS of the based on functional experience -but we must keep it small, cohesive and manageable, and not it into an unwieldy organization.

In support of his views, the CAS referred to the tri-service coordination in Sri and during the Maldives operation. The CAS’s contention is that the three Chiefs are professionally competent and mature ensure that a effort is projected. Differences can and will occur, but they must be mutually sorted out.


Commenting on the IDR’s view that a Chief should have a tenure of 3 to 4 years, preferably the latter, so that he can plan, execute and see the of aims and objectives, the CAS said that there was merit in the argument and the only way is to choose a younger chief so that he has a reasonable tenure. This aspect is something for the Government to examine and decide.

Regarding post-retirement assignments for Service Chiefs, the CAS stated that as a Service Chief one reached the professional zenith, and like in other professions retirement must come one day. One should not expect a post-retirement assignment. But if the Government wishes to utilize one’s services, that should be applicable to everyone in the country.

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