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Rafale will power India to fight 'grave threat' from China, Pakistan: IAF chief

IANS  |  New Delhi 

jets will power the (IAF) to fight "grave threats" faces from and China, Air Marshal said on Wednesday, strongly batting for the French-made fourth generation whose purchase has triggered allegations of financial irregularities.

The IAF said that by acquiring the French fighters, the IAF would also be able strengthen its depleting fleet of fighters at a time when India's neighbours were "not sitting idle" and continuously modernizing their air warfare capabilities.

Speaking at a seminar here, Air Marshal Dhanoa said the Russian-made Triumf advanced to be bought from would also enhance the capability of the

"By providing the and the (anti-missile system), the government is strengthening the IAF to counter the shortfall of our depleting numbers of aircraft," he said.

"The hi-tech fighters like are needed because medium-tech fighters like Tejas alone cannot do."

He said the IAF was already down with only 31 squadrons from the sanctioned strength of 42. "Even when we do have 42 (squadrons), we will be below the combined strength of our two adversaries," he said, adding that the gap was being "partially fulfilled by getting the hi-tech

"The question that is asked very often in public domain is why 42 squadrons when older like are being replaced by more capable aircraft.

"There are reasons (for that) because our neighbours are not sitting idle. has upgraded F-16s and made them 4.5 generation as far as goes and is inducting JF-17 (from China) in large numbers.

"is rapidly replacing its 2nd and 3rd generation fighters with 4th generation fighters and is developing 5th generation fighter which is likely to be deployed very soon."

He said very few countries were facing challenges like India, which is surrounded by "two nuclear-armed neighbours".

"We have to match neighbours and to tackle a two-front war. Intentions of our adversaries can change overnight. We need to match force level of our adversaries," he said.

The IAF chief's comments come a day after former ministers and alleged Narendra Modi's "personal culpability" in the Rafale deal which they dubbed as the country's "biggest defence scam".

The procurement of 36 Rafale fighters from France's Dassault has come under fire from the Congress, alleging that the had compromised national security and bought the bombers at a higher price than what the UPA had negotiated with the

Earlier this month, too endorsed the Rafale, saying the aircraft will give "unprecedented combat capabilities".

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, September 12 2018. 15:14 IST
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