The outcome of the 1962 war with China would have been different had the Air Force been used in an offensive role, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said here on Friday on the conflict in which India suffered a humiliating defeat.
He said the Kargil conflict of 1999 would have dragged for another three months had the IAF not been used.
"Yes, no doubts about that. If air power was used at that time, the outcome would have been totally different," he said when asked if the result of the 1962 war would have been different had air power been used.
The IAF chief was addressing the annual Air Force Day press conference.
India had lost the October-November 1962 war, which has remained a scar on the national psyche for 50 years now.
However, in recent years, India and China have warmed up to each other, with both sides asserting they wanted friendly co-existence to ensure their respective growth and development.
In 1962, the IAF had not used its combat aircraft and had deployed only its cargo planes for transporting troops and supplies to the northern and eastern frontiers.
The issue of IAF not being used in the 1962 war is still debated by military historians and experts and there is no clarity as to why the air force was not used in that war.
Browne said IAF was not allowed to be used in an offensive role and confined only to provide transport support to the Army and said "these are open and glaring lessons we should have imbibed".
"But this time, I can assure you there will be no such limitation. The IAF will play a leading role in not just against that or any other sector but anywhere," the IAF chief said.
He said a seminar will be held on October 26 to discuss if the result of the 1962 war would have been different had the IAF been used and "we are convinced that that it would have been different."
Taking credit for ending the Kargil war, Browne said, "If IAF had not got into the war at right point of time offensively, the Kargil conflict would have continued for another three months at those impossible heights for our young jawans and officers to be climbing up and losing lives.
"It is air power, which concluded that war."