The remarks come amid claims by Indian opposition leaders about major corruption in the $8.7 billion deal for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighters for the Indian Air Force (IAF) that was signed in 2016 and that Prime Minister Modi claimed left the IAF high and dry during the confrontation with Pakistan in late February.
India’s former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal A. Y. Tipnis has suggested that if India had had a promised fleet of French Rafale fighters at its disposal, they could have helped the Indian Air Force (IAF) destroy at least half of the Pakistani warplanes encountered during last month’s dogfight.
“The aim of the 24 Pakistan jets was to attack the Srinagar, Awantipora base. If India had had Rafale at that time, the IAF would have destroyed at least 12 of them. Rafale will boost the morale of the IAF,” AY Tipnis told a New Delhi security summit on Wednesday.
He referred to the February 27 air battle that erupted between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of a 14 February suicide attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy which left at least 40 soldiers dead and prompted an Indian air raid on alleged terrorist targets in the Pakistan-controlled region of Kashmir. During the dogfight, the IAF downed a Pakistan Air Force F-16 fighter jet but lost a MiG-21 Bison warplane.
A. Y. Tipnis’s remarks come as New Delhi locks horns with the opposition over alleged corruption in the $8.7 billion deal for the purchase of 36 fighter jet for the Indian Air Force that was signed in government-to-government negotiations in 2016.France: European Parliament votes to suspend Turkey accession talks