Effective application of Airpower in countering threats to national security in IOR
Wanasinghe, H . W . N .
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Once Admiral Alfred Mahan said ? Whoever controls the Indian Ocean dominates Asia. This Ocean is the key to the seven seas in twenty first century, the destiny of the world will be decided in these waters.? Indian Ocean occupies a special strategic position in maritime transportation and considered as one of the key global trading thoroughfare. Sri Lanka is positioned in a critical place of the region where it can serve as the bridge between major economic entities. Also East Asia is considered as the new engine of world economy. Hence maritime and security issues in the region will be of greater importance in future for the comfort of the island nation. We have a potential to be a focal point of shifting strategic calculus from West to East by effectively harnessing this unmatchable geostrategic location we are enjoying. The present international security environment is dynamic and uncertain, with recurrent disputes, crisis all over and conflicts in many regions. Unlike in the past the present day enemies are dynamic, irregular, networked and even unorthodox. We are currently witnessing unhealthy competition to gain influence in other countries and exploiting internal pressures of other countries to achieve strategic ends. Also in recent years there has been phenomenal rise in intra-state militancy and emergence of non-state actors which had gained strategic autonomy and the ability to undertake high profile acts that can create strategic effects. Air power is one of the special and unique tools of a nation which can be deployed to ensure Air defense of the nation, to support sister services to perform their roles and to aid the nation in disastrous situations. Unique characteristics of the air power are height, speed and reach, which need to be taken in to the consideration. At the end of the study following observations were made. There are security threats to Sri Lanka due to the geographic location, power struggle between regional powers, economic potential of the country, increased activities of pirates in Indian Ocean. Further, potential application of third dimension in countering such threats is identified.