An Incredible War: IAF in Kashmir War 1947-1948 (Second Edition)

Bharat Kumar

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If the Indian Air Force had not put our troops airlifted in the early hours of 27th October, 1947 from Delhi on the ground at Srinagar which was menacingly threatened by Pakistan forces, the history and map of India might well have been quite different. In those momentous hours the Indian Army and Indian Air Force, in a heroic joint operation, began to roll back the blatant aggression of Pakistani military and save Jammu & Kashmir from the marauders. Independent India’s first war started with no other means available to assist the beleaguered local forces; and Indian Army troops were moved by air under grave emergency conditions from Delhi to stem the enemy’s advance. From this point started the saga of the an almost forgotten war: the first and the longest war independent India was forced to fight, and where the fledgling air force, emaciated by partition, and preoccupied with relief and rescue operations following massive riots and demographic movements played a crucial role in India’s defence.

Indian Air Force continued to play a vital role during that most incredible war; and this book chronicles the history of its role, where all the bits and pieces have been brought together by the painstaking persistence of the author to share the glorious record of the Indian Air Force. The men in blue, knowing the challenges of an aggressive military, the weather and terrain of high altitude, and the difficulties of supplying our troops, working closely with the army knew that it executed one of most brilliant military campaigns in its history under the most daunting circumstances — feats that it has continued to repeat ever since then. But time and again the air force moved troops into critical battles and provided extensive combat support in uncharted areas to turn the tide.

Within the IAF; the deeds of pilots, engineers, technicians and other personnel during that war became legend and inspired succeeding generations. But little has been written or known in and outside the service about how our inheritance was shaped by so few. This volume tells the story for the first time, painstakingly put together from extensive research and interviews by the author.

Bharat Kumar Air Marshal Bharat Kumar is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College and Vorosholov General Staff Academy (Moscow). He was commissioned in the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force in December 1959, and has held many command and staff assignments in his career. He commanded a MiG-21

Squadron, two major operational bases, including the prestigious Mirage-2000- equipped Air Force Station, Gwalior, and was Air Officer Commanding, HQ Maritime Air Operations. His staff appointments include Operations 1, Air 1 and Senior Air Staff Officer at the Headquarters of operational commands; those at Air Headquarters being Director Operations, Director Plans and Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Inspection). He reached the pinnacle of his career when he took over as the Air Officer Commanding- in-Chief Southern Air Command, IAF, in
1995. He retired from service in 1997. He was conferred the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 1984 and Param Vishisht Seva Medal in 1997 for rendering distinguished service of the most exceptional order.
Air Marshal Bharat Kumar is a Fellow of the Aeronautical Society of India and Indian Management Association. He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi.

His other books include: An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation, Unknown and Unsung: Indian Air Force in Sino-India War of 1962, Courage and Devotion to Duty: A Chronicle of IAF’s Honours and Awards (1932-2008).



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