The first Rafale for the Indian Air Force was handed over to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. This delivery is the latest in a series of much-needed yet perennially delayed steps taken to bolster the Indian Air Force’s combat capabilities. The IAF has historically been the largest and best-equipped force in the region — reliant principally on license production of Soviet aircraft types to make up mass, and a privileged relation with Moscow to ensure access to high technology. The twin sticks of numerical and technological security have allowed the IAF to deter outright conflict in many cases and outfight its adversary when war became inescapable.
History is replete with examples of the Indian Government taking swift and decisive action to maintain the IAF’s overall edge in the region, from the decision to induct and produce hundreds of MiG-21s from 1962 onward, to the emergency procurement of beyond-visual range MiG-23MF interceptors in 1982 to outmatch the early-model F-16s that Pakistan was receiving. Read More