Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh welcomed a contingent of Rafale aircraft that reached Ambala today in a series of tweets in which he also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the French manufacturer of the aircraft Dassault and congratulated the Indian Air Force.
Air Chief Marshal (retd) Dhanoa said “I defended the deal as I did not want it to go the Bofors way. We were against the politicisation of the defence acquisition process.”
India has signed a deal for 36 Rafael fighter jets with France and 4 of those have already arrived in India on 29th July 2020. Former Chief of Air Staff BS Dhanoa on Wednesday welcomed the arrival of Rafales in India and said he defended the deal to acquire the multi-role jets notwithstanding the political controversy to prevent it from going the Bofors way.
“It may be a good aircraft. It’s one among the simplest within the region. it’s getting to bolster IAF’s capabilities in terms of aerospace power which has been dwindling for quite a while as there has been no induction of combat jets for quite a while,” he said
The Rafale deal controversy may be a political controversy in India associated with the acquisition of 36 multirole fighters for a price estimated at €7.8 billion by the Defence Ministry of India from France’s Dassault Aviation.
The touchdown of 5 Rafale jets on Indian soil on Wednesday caps years of an intense political dogfight, with the ruling BJP projecting the acquisition as an enormous boost to national security and therefore the Congress alleging corruption, before a clean chit by the Supreme Court to the deal removed any hurdle in its acquisition.
Senior BJP leaders were jubilant because the multirole combat jets received the Ambala air station, but this denouement marked by celebrations follows an extended saga of political fights, with detractors of the deal taking their battle to the apex court and losing it there.
Even the Supreme Court’s dismissal in December 2018 of PILs demanding a court-monitored probe into the Rs 59,000 crore purchase of 36 fighter jets and assertion that it found nothing wrong within the deal, couldn’t douse the political fire because the then Congress former president Rahul Gandhi made his allegations of the graft within the transaction a poll issue within the 2019 Lok Sabha elections
The BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the opposition of compromising national interest by making “baseless” corruption charges and asserted that the French aircraft will bolster Indian Air Force capabilities manifold during a hostile neighborhood.
On Wednesday, India received the primary batch of 5 Rafale jets, nearly four years after it inked an inter-governmental agreement with France to acquire 36 of the aircraft at a price of Rs 59,000 crore. The IAF received the Rafale jets 23 years after it imported Sukhoi-30 Ks from Russia in 1997.