Former Chief of Air Staff BS Dhanoa on Wednesday welcomed the arrival of Rafales in India and said he defended the deal to procure the multi-role jets notwithstanding the political controversy to stop it from going the Bofors way.
The alleged pay-offs in procurement of a batch of Bofors guns in mid-1980s and its subsequent political ramifications had severely crippled defence procurement as bureaucrats were apprehensive of taking decisions on military purchases.
“I defended the deal as I did not want it to go the Bofors way. We were against politicisation of the defence acquisition process. It was a question of capability of the Air Force,” Air Chief Marshal (retd) Dhanoa told PTI.
On Wednesday, India received the first batch of five Rafale jets, nearly four years after it inked an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. The IAF received the Rafale jets 23 years after it imported Sukhoi-30 Ks from Russia in 1997.
“I am very happy for the Indian Air Force as it (the Rafale) has given the Air Force a tremendous capability jump and technological asymmetry over our adversaries something which was missing for such a long time,” Mr Dhanoa said.