New Delhi: IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Tuesday said that it should be made clear to the world that “today’s India has the capability and more importantly, the will, to respond at a level that we deem appropriate and to define our own escalation matrix.” Speaking at the All India Management Association event on ‘The Future of Air Warfare: Securing the Skies and Beyond’, the IAF Chief said that as a nation, there is a need for strong and robust strategic communication. Talking about the Russia Ukraine conflict, the IAF Chief said, “At the other end of the spectrum are the hypersonic weapons and there are reports of some of these being used in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.” He said that due to very high speeds, these missiles are difficult to intercept making existing air defence systems redundant. “The Air Force is actively involved in research and development for such weapons and in developing counter measures,” he added. The Air Force Chief elaborated upon various aspects of the modern warfare and the need to develop capabilities in all the domains. “Cyber and Information have become the modern tools for shaping the battlefield. A well created narrative in the information domain to adversely affect the enemy, can have devastating effects. As we become more and more interconnected, a cyber-attack on our networks can cripple command and control structures,” he said. He said that in the next war, the enemy might not be a country or an organisation. “We may never know the perpetrators of a Distributed Denial of Services attack and we will not know when and from where the attack will take place. In the future, we could be attacked on all fronts, ranging from economic strangulation to diplomatic isolation and military standoffs to information black outs in the form of attacks by Distributed Denial of Services. All this will happen well before the first bullet is fired or the first aircraft goes across the border,” he said. He said that traditionally, wars have been fought on the land, at sea,in the air and to some extent, in space but in the past two decades, this spectrum has increased to encompass cyber and information domains. “The first four domains are classically physical and the other two are virtual. The overarching effect of cyber and information on the conduct of conventional wars has created a new, hybrid and multi domain spectrum of conflict resulting in older tactics and strategies becoming passé,” he said. The IAF Chief said that traditionally we all look at a Soldier on the battlefield, a Sailor on a ship and an Airman in an aircraft as combatants who will fight wars. Talking about the way the shifting pattern of modern warfare, the IAF Chief said, “A College student creating memes, a 25 year old sitting in front of a computer, a banker analysing the fiscal health of a company, a diplomat making foreign policy and a politician, all of them and many more would also be combatants waging tomorrow’s wars alongside the soldier, sailor and airman.” “This brings me to the term Comprehensive National Power which is the sum total of the Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic heft of a country. In modern warfare, the Comprehensive National Power of a country must be brought to bear on the adversary if we want decisive victory,” he said. The IAF Chief also spoke on India’s efforts towards indigenization of defence forces and its importance. We are hugely cognizant of the fact that no nation can be truly sovereign without meeting its basic needs from indigenous sources, this applies greatly to the defence needs, he said.