The newly inducted Rafale fighter aircraft has given India an edge and the capability to strike first and deep, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria said on Tuesday. “Integration of Rafales brings in a platform which is way ahead and would give us an edge and capability to strike first and deep,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Rafale fighter aircraft would feature in the Air Force Day parade on 8 October, an Indian Air Force (IAF) official said.
Also, noting that there has been no coordination with the US forces in relation to border tensions with China, the IAF Chief asserted that India has to fight its wars on its own and cannot count on others for this.
Addressing the annual Air Force Day press conference here, the Air Force Chief said India does not plan its war efforts with support from others and does everything on its own. He ruled out any linkage of deployment of US military assets in the Indian Ocean with India’s border tensions with China and said American deployments are done according to their perspective. “American deployments are done as per their perspective. We don’t plan our efforts with support from someone else. They have not been deployed in coordination with us. We have to fight our own wars. No one will fight our wars for us. We have to do it ourselves,” he said. The Air Chief was asked to comment on reports that reported American deployment of B-2 bombers in the Indian Ocean was to deter the Chinese from doing any misadventure in Ladakh. On the possibility of the Indian Air Force buying the second batch of 36 more Rafale fighter aircraft, the Air Chief said it was a complex subject and “various options” were being deliberated upon in the Force. He suggested that the decision to either buy more Rafales or to go in for an open tender for 114 multirole fighter aircraft was yet to be finalised.
“Whether we go in for more Rafale or MRFA, it will be an open competition…The current status is that we have received all the RFIs (for the MRFA programme). All these issues are on the table now in terms of taking a final call…There are various issues that need to be considered,” he said. The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on 29 July, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the fighter aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
With ANI input