The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been involved in many wars and conflicts since its inception in 1932. Here are some of the notable wars and conflicts in which the IAF has played a significant role.
World War II (1939–1945)
Although India was under British colonial rule at the time, the Indian Air Force actively participated in World War II. IAF squadrons were engaged in combat in various theatres, including North Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia, providing air support and reconnaissance.
Indo Pak war
First India-Pakistan War (1947-1948)
The Indian Air Force played an important role in the first war between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region. It primarily involved the Air Force in providing air support and transportation for the Indian ground forces.
Second India-Pakistan War (1965)
In the 1965 war, the Indian Air Force conducted extensive operations on both the western and eastern fronts. In this war, the Indian Air Force engaged in aerial combat with Pakistani aircraft and carried out strategic bombing missions.
Bangladesh Liberation War (1971)
During this conflict, the Indian Air Force played a key role in supporting the Indian Army and Mukti Bahini (Bangladeshi freedom fighters) in their efforts to liberate Bangladesh from Pakistani forces.
Kargil War (1999)
The Indian Air Force played a vital role in the Kargil War by carrying out precise air strikes and providing air support to the ground forces. The objective of Operation Safed Sagar was to push back Pakistani infiltrators from the Kargil area.
Anti insurgency campaign
The Indian Air Force has been involved in several counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations within India, including Jammu and Kashmir and the North-Eastern regions, providing air mobility, reconnaissance and surveillance support.
Humanitarian and peacekeeping missions
The Indian Air Force has also been involved in various humanitarian and peacekeeping missions domestically and internationally. This includes providing relief and rescue operations during natural disasters and providing assistance in peacekeeping missions under the United Nations flag.
Although not full-scale wars, the Indian Air Force has been on high alert and conducted limited operations during times of heightened tension, such as the 2019 Balakot air strike, which followed the Pulwama attack.