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India facing grave threat, Rafale will enhance IAF’s capability, says Air Chief BS Dhanoa

Speaking at a seminar on ‘IAF’s force structure, 2035’, the air chief BS Dhanoa said the government is procuring Rafale fighter jets and S-400 missile systems to enhance IAF’s capability

india Updated: Sep 12, 2018 12:19 IST
India,Indian Air Force,BS Dhanoa
A Rafale fighter aircraft flies during the inauguration of the 11th biennial edition of AERO INDIA 2017 at Yelahanka Air base in Bengaluru.(PTI File Photo)

Amid the rising clamour on the Rafale deal, the Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, on Wednesday said by acquiring the French fighters the IAF was strengthening its depleting fleet.

“By providing the Rafale and the S-400 (anti-missile system), the government is strengthening the Indian Air Force to counter the shortfall of our depleting numbers of aircraft,” he said at an event here.

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.

“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.

The IAF chief’s comments come a day after former Bharatiya Janata Party ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “personal culpability” in the Rafale deal which they dubbed as the country’s “biggest defence scam”.

Earlier this month, the IAF Vice Chief, Air Marshal S.B. Deo too, had endorsed the Rafale, deal saying the aircraft will give India “unprecedented combat capabilities”.

Besides BJP rebels Sinha and Shourie, the Congress led by its President Rahul Gandhi has been relentlessly attacking the Modi government over the jet deal that was announced by the Prime Minister in 2015.

First Published: Sep 12, 2018 11:09 IST