The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, today, strongly defended Narendra Modi’s government decision to buy the fighter jets, in the backdrop of sharp attacks from the Congress-led opposition that accuses the government of negotiating an overpriced deal to buy 36 fighter jets in flyaway condition from France.
He asserted that the deal to buy the high-tech Rafale jets would partially offset the Indian Air Force’s depleting number of fighter squadrons needed to match force levels of its regional adversaries. Pointing to IAF’s strength coming down to 31 squadrons from the sanctioned strength of 42, Dhanoa said India faced a shortage of fighter aircraft despite the threat of a two-front war with Pakistan and China.
He reminded that very few countries are facing challenges like us. “We have two nuclear-armed neighbours.We have to match neighbours Pakistan and China to tackle a two-front war,” he said. He also said that in the last few years, fighter aircraft have been permanently stationed in the air fields in Tibetan Autonomous Region (by China). “So have advanced radar and surface to air missiles,” he added.
By providing the Rafale jet and the S-400 (anti-missile system), he is hailed that the government is strengthening the Indian Air Force to counter the shortfall of our depleting numbers of aircraft.