Amid the Rafale deal controversy, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Wednesday said no country in the world is facing the kind of grave threat that India is confronted with, and the Centre’s decision to procure the French fighter jets will help in filling gap of combat capabilities of Indian Air Force.
Addressing a seminar in New Delhi, Dhanoa said "the intentions of adversaries can change overnight", and India needs to be prepared for such an eventuality.
#WATCH What we do not have are the numbers, against a sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons, we are down to 31. Even when we do have 42 squadrons, we will be below the combined numbers of two of our regional adversaries:Air Force Chief Birender Singh Dhanoa in Delhi pic.twitter.com/DKa6sQHDva— ANI (@ANI) September 12, 2018
"The Government's decision to procure French Rafale fighter jets and Russian air defence missile system will help in filling gap of combat capabilities of Indian Air Force," he said.
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The air chief also warned that India's neighbours, including China, are modernising their air force significantly.
He was speaking at the seminar on 'IAF's force structure, 2035'.
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He also justified procurement of only two Rafale jet squadrons, saying there were example of similar purchases.
The opposition party has alleged that Reliance Defence was chosen as the local partner for offset contracts worth crores, as per the 2016 annual report of Dassault Aviation and a press statement of Reliance Defence. Reliance Defence and Aerospace, in a statement, said that it or any other Reliance group company has not received any contract from the defence ministry till date, relating to the 36 Rafale aircraft. “This is absolutely unfounded and incorrect,” the company said.
The opposition also claimed that there is no violation of any rule or preferential treatment to Dassault Reliance Aviation Ltd (DRAL), the joint venture company formed to fulfil the offset contracts in the Rafale deal. The Congress, however, accused the prime minister of making the announcement of “off-the-shelf” purchase of 36 fighter jets in Paris at a much higher rate than that negotiated by the UPA government.
(With inputs from PTI)