New Delhi: At a time when the opposition is questioning the reason for buying only 36 Rafale planes by the Modi government, IAF chief BS Dhanoa said there have been cases earlier as well where only two squadrons of fighter planes were procured to meet emergency requirements. [A squadron has 12 to 24 fighter aircraft of one type.]

The IAF chief stated further that the Rafale planes would also help the Air Force to fill in the gaps in the combat capabilities of the country along with the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems being acquired from Russia. 

“Inter-governmental agreements for buying fighter jets like in the case of Rafale is not a first. In the past also two squadrons of MIG 29 and Mirage-2000 fighter jets were bought in 1980s under the same umbrella to meet demands of an emergency,” the IAF Chief said while addressing a seminar Air Power 2035.

Both the Congress and disgruntled BJP duo of Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha along with Prashant Bhushan have been questioning the Modi government on why only 36 planes were being acquired when the Air Force required 126 of them.

At the conference, the Air Force chief said there are very few countries that face challenges like us. We have two nuclear armed neighbours, nobody like us has that situation.

“Even if we get sanctioned fighter squadrons of 42, we will be still down against combined strength of our two adversaries (China and Pakistan) in the region. We have to match the power of our advisories for two front war scenario,” he said. 

Officers who have been associated with the Rafale deal, including Central Air Commander Air Marshal SBP Sinha and Deputy Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar, are attending the event and discussing the various aspects of the deal.