Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa has said that although technology was on India’s side in the Balakot air strike, the result of the operation would have been more favourable to India if Rafale fighter jets were inducted in time.
The chief of Indian Air Force was speaking at a seminar on aerospace power of the future and the impact of technology.
“In the Balakot operation, we had technology on our side, and we could launch precision stand of weapons with great accuracy. In the subsequent engagements, we came out better because we upgraded our MiG-21s, Bisons, and Mirage-2000 aircraft,” the Air Chief Marshal said. Making a significant comment, he added that “the results would have been further skewed in our favour had we inducted the Rafale aircraft in time”.
He also said that the induction of Rafale jets and S-400 Triumf air defence missile system will once against shift the technological balance in India’s favour.
The Indian government has signed a deal with the French government for the purchase of 36 Rafale jets, after the attempt to buy 126 fighter jets had failed. Rafale had emerged as the winner in 2012 in that bid, but a deal could not be signed due to various issues. Therefore, after coming to power, the Modi government had scrapped that deal and signed a new deal to buy 36 jets directly from France to immediately replenish the fast depleting fleet of IAF. But opposition parties led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and activists are trying hard to derail the deal by making numerous baseless allegations and filling PILs in court against the deal.
India also signed a deal with Russia for purchase of five S-400 air defence systems in October last year. The system is described as one of the best air-defence systems currently made.
The seminar on ‘Aerospace power in the 2040s: Impact of Technology’ was held in New Delhi to pay tributes to war hero Marshal Arjan Singh of Indian Air Force on his birth centenary. Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh was the Air Force chief during the India-Pakistan war in 1965, and he is the only India Air Force officer to be promoted as Marshal, a five-star rank equivalent to Field Marshal of Army.
The seminar was organised by Indian Air Force along with the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), an autonomous defence research and analysis body, and it was hosted at Subroto Park in New Delhi.
Stressing on the importance of technology for the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said that among all arms of the military, technology affects them the most. “Land forces mainly fight with men, naval and air force officers operate machines and in the Air Force this technology has to be packed in smaller machines and subject to extreme temperature and pressure conditions,” the IAF chief said. The IAF chief also added that air power is more sensitive to technological change.
The IAF had stressed on the importance of Rafale and S-400 for Indian Air Force earlier also. In September last year, he had said that by providing the Rafales and S-400s, the government is helping the Indian Air Force to counter the shortfalls of reduced numbers.