Indian Air Force Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Thursday said that if India had not taken a "moral high ground" and had, instead, opted for a military solution, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir would have been a part of India. "The problem still continues. PoK remains a thorn in our flesh today," he said.
Raha also emphasised that it was high time India used its air force to defend itself, noting that the only time IAF's services were properly utilised was during the 1971 Bangladesh war, reported NDTV. "The Indian Air Force's capabilities, efforts and operations were integrated nicely in a well-synergised manner with the Indian Army and the navy [during the 1971 war], and the results were there to be seen by the entire world – the creation of Bangladesh in just about 15 days of conflict," he said.
The air chief marshal's remark comes at a time when both India and Pakistan have engaged in a war of words regarding PoK. While Pakistani officials have blamed India for the ongoing Kashmir crisis, top Indian ministers have said Pakistan must vacate the portion of Kashmir that it illegally occupies. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned PoK and Balochistan in his Independence Day speech.