New Delhi: Taking a dig at Narendra Modi-led NDA government’s Rafale fighter aircraft deal, former defence minister and senior Congress leader AK Antony said on Saturday that with the signing of the deal between India and France, there is a clear indication that the BJP’s promise of ‘Make in India’ is gone.
Antony said 36 Rafale jets are not enough for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at a time when the neighbours are modernising their air forces.
“During our time, there were some important requirements for finalising the contract: 1) 50 percent offset 2) We will purchase 18 from France and remaining 108 to be produced in India by HAL. 108 by the Indian public sector. That condition is gone. Make in India is gone,” he said. As per IAF, 126 was the minimum requirement for their urgent operational requirements,” Antony said. (sic)
The Congress leader said the present strength 32 squadron, in 2022 this will be reduced to 25, so how the government will equip the air force with more aircraft and how will they fill up the gap?
“Sanctioned strength of fighter jets in the IAF is 42 squadrons, and of late, the situation was becoming critical and volatile. The IAF needs more squadrons, current availability of fighter jets is 32 squadrons, and by 2022, this will reduce to 25,” he asked.
India’s decade- long quest to acquire Rafale fighter jets from France came to an end on Friday after the two countries signed the 7.8 billion euros ($8.84 billion) deal.