Controversy over Rafale deal ‘unfortunate’: Former air force chief 

Written By: Pooja Mehta WION
Kolkata, West Bengal, India Updated: Jan 16, 2019, 09:34 PM(IST)

File photo of a Rafale fighter jet. Photograph:( AFP )

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Raha pointed out that the defence procurement process in the country is too long and they must be revamped to increase our aerospace power capability

Former air force chief, (Retd) Air Chief Marshall Arup Raha on Wednesday termed the controversy over Rafale deal as ‘unfortunate’.  

“This is unfortunate. If you have any issues, sort it out separately, do not stop the deal which is absolutely essential for us to build our military capability,” said Raha indirectly hitting out at the opposition parties. 

Raha pointed out that the defence procurement process in the country is too long and they must be revamped to increase our aerospace power capability. 

“This is the problem of our country that our procurement process is too long. These process needs to be revamped,” Raha said while speaking at the sidelines of a panel discussion organised by the Bengal Chamber Commerce & Industry and CENERS-K: Cyber Terrorism & The Economy: A Gathering Storm.

This apart, he highlighted that in the recent times, some aircraft have become obsolete and some have been phased out and there is an immediate need to add more fighters to the fleet to increase the military capability. 

“Air warfare is a very important component, even if you have an entire Army, Navy standing, but if you do not have aerospace power you cannot win a conflict. Indian Air Force’s strength is coming down, aircraft are getting obsolete, we retire some of these aircraft and some have to be replaced,” he said.

However, he claimed that Rafale is just one component that is replacing the obsolete aircraft. He hinted that the acquisition of Rafale jets though was a good move, 36 aircraft were not enough to increase its combat capabilities over India’s adversaries.

“Rafale is one component of the capability and specific to the Airforce. Rafale is just one replacement, but it is not in sufficient quantity, we require much more. 

Overall, we need to build capabilities in the spheres like helicopters, transport aircraft, submarines and entire spectrum,” said Raha. 

In 2018, Raha said that the controversy over Rafale deal was lowering nation’s esteem.  

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