Emphasising that the future wars which India would face would be "limited conflicts", the Air Chief SP Tyagi has said the Air Force would need to possess all components of credible conventional aerospace power as well as nuclear deterrence to fulfill regional responsibilities.
"Large scale wars are less likely," Tyagi said, adding, "we can expect short duration, limited conflicts-- limited in terms of time, forces used, objectives and geographical extent."
The Air Chief said in any future conflict in the region "international pressure will terminate conflicts in a reasonable short time", so it would be essential to act fast to achieve objectives.
For such conflicts, he said IAF would need to have speed, strategic reach, flexibility and rapid deployment. "We, therefore, have a perspective plan for the near future, which is based on the envisaged threat and requirements," Tyagi said in an interview to South Asia Defence and Strategic Year book.
The Air Chief said earlier there was a perception that use of air power was escalatory, but this was changing with aerospace power being seen as providing "neater, quicker and less destructive" options.
Asserting that space systems were becoming an integral part of the overall combat capability of the nation, Tyagi said the outcome of future campaigns will be heavily dependent on space.
He said the IAF was in the process of incoproating space capabilites, resources and operations in its policies and strategies.
But, at the same time the Air Chief emphasised that "a dedicated effort was required."
Tyagi disclosed that IAF planned to integrate space applications in its conventional systems and operations by 2010. He said IAF had already set up a Directorate for managing space affairs for years now.
"We also have dedicated space sub-branch to coordinate all space related activities with the integrated Space cell at Integrated Defence Staff headquarters," he said.
On future thrust areas, the Air Chief said efforts were being made to augment strategic reach airlift capability and stringing together a network centric operations.
He said that IAF modernisation drive, currently underway was seeking to make the force into a strong deterrent as well as a capable and powerful instrument.