Former IAF Chief BS Dhanoa: Don’t Politicise Defence Procurement

Former IAF Chief BS Dhanoa said the air battle would have been different if Abhinandan was flying a Rafale.

2 min read
Rafale fighter jet.

Former Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa said on Sunday, 5 January, that the outcome of the dogfight involving Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman could have been different if the Indian Air Force had acquired the Rafale jets sooner.

The comment came in reference to when Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by the Pakistani Army on 27 February 2019, after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down, reportedly, in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat. Varthaman reportedly downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan before his plane was hit.

“If Abhinandan was flying a Rafale and not a MiG-21, the equation in that air battle would have been different. Why was he not flying a Rafale? Because you took ten years to decide which aircraft you want to buy,”
BS Dhanoa, Former Indian Air Force Chief

Dhanoa also termed the S-400 missile system a 'game-changer' and stressed the need to speed up the defence acquisition process.

The S-400 missile system is a significant upgrade to its predecessor, S-300. Its radar has a range of at least 600 km for surveillance, and its missiles have ranges of up to 400 km, reports Al Jazeera.

"It's intended to be a one-size-fits-all missile system. It can be configured with long-range, semi long-range, medium-range, and even short-range weapons systems, depending on how the individual user wishes to configure the S-400," Kevin Brand, military analyst working with the Council on Foreign Relations, told Al Jazeera.

Further questioning the politicisation of defence acquisition deals, Dhanoa said to ANI, "If you politicise defence acquisition system, the whole system goes behind. Other files also start moving at a slow pace. When could artillery get a new gun after Bofors? Bofors is a good gun but was mired in controversy, the same way Rafale was questioned."

(With inputs from ANI and Al Jazeera)

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