– IAF Chief Attributing the success of the air strike in Pakistani territory on 26 February to technological prowess, Indian Air Force (IAF) chief BS Dhanoa has said that the induction of S-400 air missile defence systems and Rafale fighter jets will further tilt the technological balance in India’s favour.
Speaking during a seminar on the impact of technology on the future of aerospace power in New Delhi, Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa said that the IAF achieved its objective in the Balakot air strike and it successfully thwarted Pakistan’s attack on the next day. With the planned acquisition of high-end defence equipment, the IAF chief expressed confidence of having a superior hand in defence preparedness against adversaries.
“In the proposed induction of the Rafale and S-400 surface-to-air missile system, in the next two-four years, once again the technological balance will shift in our favour, like it was in 2002 during Operation Parakram during the last stand-off,” Dhanoa said while addressing a gathering at an event on Monday.
Despite the threat of US sanctions, India and Russia signed a $5.43 billion deal for S-400 ‘Triumf’ long-range air defence missile systems in October last year. The first S-400 is expected to join the IAF in October 2020 while the remaining four will arrive by 2023. The missile has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km.
Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman expressed hope that New Delhi will avoid US sanctions over its purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile systems.
“In the case of S-400, we have explained ourselves well. That has been heard and understood. They have appreciated the point of view put forward,” she told the AFP news agency.
India also inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around $8.7 billion. The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September this year.
Tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations escalated in February after the Pulwama terror attack on 14 February, which expanded into a full-fledged aerial clash on 27 February. An Indian MiG-21 Bison was shot down by the Pakistanis, while India claims that it too shot down a Pakistani F-16, though Islamabad denies this.