The eighty-seventh anniversary of the Indian Air Force (IAF) closed on a somewhat sombre note a few weeks ago with the media flashing images of the Raksha Mantri (RM) in France performing ‘shastra puja’ rituals on the first Rafale aircraft that adorned IAF tri-colour roundels and the controversy that inevitably followed.
Clearly, the operational significance of the IAF finally receiving a weapon system for which a requirement has existed for fifteen long years, was not as news-worthy. Indeed much of what was said by the defence ministers of India and France and indeed the CEO of Dassault Aviation on this significant occasion got buried in the noise which was then magnified in the social media.
Not surprisingly, the subject took on political overtones and in response, the RM was quoted as saying ‘People can say whatever they want. I did what I thought was right and I will continue to do so. This is our faith, that there is a superpower and I have believed it since childhood.’ Read more