New Delhi, September 12: A big endorsement of the controversial Rafale Deal has come from Indian Air Force Chief Birender Singh Dhanoa. Speaking in Delhi on Wednesday, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said that Rafale and S-300 jets were strengthening the Indian defence forces. "By providing the Rafale and S-400, the government is strengthening the Indian Air Force to counter the shortfalls of our depleting numbers," the IAF chief said.
A six-member crew of the Indian Air Force had left for France to train on the Rafale fighter jets on Sunday. According to media reports, the team is comprised of a fighter pilot, an engineer and four technicians. The crew members will be trained on the jets as the IAF has started preparations for inducting the first lot of its new planes from September 2019.
On Tuesday, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan alleged that the NDA government was using men and women in uniform to defend the Rafale deal, and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is personally “culpable” in the scam.
Referring to Vice Chief of Indian Air Force Air Marshal S B Deo’s recent comments on Rafale, they said after being “totally exposed”, the government is now using the senior military brass to defend the deal.
The opposition led by the Congress has been alleging massive irregularities in the deal, claiming that the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,600 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the UPA government. The government has rejected the charges.