Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa says Rafale and S-400 missiles crucial for India

Chief of the Air Force staff Birender Singh Dhanoa has stated in a press statement that the government’s procurement of Rafale fighter jets and S-400 missiles is extremely crucial of the Indian Airforce. According to a report in ANI, the Air Force Chief has asserted that by providing the Rafales and S-400s, the government is helping the Indian Air Force to counter the shortfalls of reduced numbers.

The Air Force Chief further stated that the Indian Air Force is currently struggling with a reduced number of squadrons. Against the sanctioned numbers of 42 squadrons, the IAF currently has only 31. He further added that even if India obtains the full capacity of 42 squadrons, it will still be less than the combined strength of the two main regional adversaries (China and Pakistan).

Air Force Chief Dhanoa further stated that in the last decade, China has significantly developed road, rails and airfield infra in the Tibetian Autonomous Region (TAR). In recent years, they had also gone ahead to permanently station fighter aircrafts, along with advanced radars and surface to air missiles in the TAR. As per information, China has approx 1,700 fighter aircrafts, of which 800 are of the 4th generation. A larger number of these can be expected to be deployed against India in case of a conflict. Though the TAR has geographical limitations due to its terrain, China still posseses enough numbers in internal regions to compensate for such a scenarios.

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Stressing for the need of advanced aircrafts and modern weapon system the Air force chief stated that the Rafale jets and S-400 missiles are crucial for the Indian Air Force. He added that very few countries face the kind of challanges that India does, considering the fact that we have two nuclear-powered neighbours.

The Air Force chief’s statements comes at the wake of the controversy around the Rafale fighter jet procurement deal. Despite repeated clarifications from the government that there have been no irregularities in the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from France, the opposition parties have been crying wolf over the government to government deal. Recenlty the Supreme Court has listed a petition filed by a lawyer seeking an SIT probe into the Rafale deal.

India had confirmed that despite US sanctions, the S-400 Triumph missile system deal with Russia will be taken ahead and India will continue its startegic defence partership with Russia.

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