In the backdrop of the deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa has told each and every officer of the Indian Air Force (IAF) that they should be ready for operations at short notice. He also said that officers should be able to deliver the best results using available means. All of these were communicated to the IAF officers through a personal letter written by Dhanoa. The letter also talks about other issues such as favoritism and sexual harassment. Sources have revealed that the letter has been posted to all of the nearly 12,000 officers in the IAF. Such personal letters have been rare, with records indicating that similar letters were sent by Field Marshal (then General) K M Cariappa on May 1, 1950 and General K Sundarji on February 1, 1986.
By asking IAF officers to deliver the best results with available means, Dhanoa is trying to get the message through that the IAF is currently running short of fighter aircrafts. It may be recalled that the sanctioned strength for IAF is 42 squadrons of fighter aircrafts, but currently it only has 33 such squadrons. Even the Rafael and Tejas fighter jets that are scheduled to be inducted will only act as replacement for the ageing MIGs and will not add to the squadron strength. By sub-conventional threat, Dhanoa was referring to the proxy war being staged by Pakistan as well as the continued unrest in the Kashmir valley.