Indian Air Force (IAF) chief RKS Bhadauria on Saturday declared that the IAF is work on its goal to induct all the 36 Rafale fighter jets till 2022.
Post reviewing of the Combined Graduation Parade (CGP) at the Air Force Academy located in Dundigal, Hyderabad, Bhadauria revealed, “The target is 2022. It is absolutely on target. I mentioned earlier. Except for one or two aircraft, minor delays because of Covid-related issues, but, in fact, some deliveries have been ahead of time. So, broadly, we are absolutely on target on the Rafale induction plan. On the operationalisation plan, you are aware, we are fully operational.. so, in terms of time, we will be absolutely on time.”
In September 2016, India had formalized an inter- governmental deal with France over buying 36 Rafale fighter jets estimated at a cost of Rs. 59,000 crore.
Union defence minister Rajnath Singh had informed in April 2021 that the complete batch of the aircraft would arrive in the country by 2022. While responding to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Singh said, “I want to inform you that till now, 11 Rafale have arrived and by this March, 17 Rafale will be on our land. I also inform that all Rafale will reach India by April, 2022.”
About the current status of the Indo-China border in eastern Ladakh, Bhadauria said it demands to continue with parley and proceed with the disengagement over the “balance friction points”, adding that India and China have discussions underway. He said, “The first attempt is to continue with the talks and do the disengagement at the balance friction points. And, of course, follow it up with de-escalation.”
Bhaduaria further added, “However, in parallel, the ground realities are being monitored closely. Whatever is the reality across, in terms of current leftover locations, deployments, any changes, that is being monitored closely and whatever actions are required on our part, we are taking.”
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