Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa on Wednesday said the government had taken a bold step by purchasing 36 Rafale fighter jets.
He said the government in doing so, had given to the Air Force a high-tech aircraft to offset the capability of the adversary.
Reiterating the government’s stand strongly, the air chief said the government nor the Indian Air Force had any role in the selection of the offset partner for Dassault.
“It was Dassault that was to select an offset partner and the government, IAF had no role to play,” the Air Chief told media.
Air chief Dhanoa said the IAF was consulted and informed at the appropriate level on the reduction of number of Rafale jets from 126 to 36.
Hailing the capability of the aircraft, Dhanoa said the Rafale fighter jet will be a game-changer in the subcontinent. “We have lots of advantages in the Rafale deal,” he added.
On being asked about the capability of the HAL, Dhanoa said there has been delay in delivery schedule in contracts already executed to the Indian state-owned defence company.
“There has been delay in delivery schedule in contracts already executed to HAL. There is a three-year delay in delivery of Sukhoi-30, six-year delay in Jaguar, 5-year delay in LCA, and 2- year delay in the delivery of Mirage 2000 upgrade,” he said.
On HAL’s involvement in the purchase of the aircraft, the air chief said, “HAL was involved in ToT (Transfer of Technology) and licensed production. There is no question of HAL being left out.”
Commenting on the purchase of air defence missile systems, Dhanoa said both Rafale and S-400 air defence missile system deals were like a booster dose.
“Both Rafale and S-400 deal is a booster deal for air force,” he said.
He said the S-400 air defence missile system from Russia will be purchased in 24 months as soon as the government approves it.
A huge controversy over the Rafale deal erupted in India after a report in the French media quoted former president Francois Hollande as saying that the selection of the Indian company in the Rafale deal was done at the behest of New Delhi.
Hollande said that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for the French aerospace giant in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal and France did not have a choice.