File photo of a French Airforce Rafale fighter Jet. Photograph:( Reuters )
"We were prepared then, we are prepared now", said Bhadauria.
Rafale jets will greatly enhance the capabilities of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and will give the IAF an edge over Pakistan and China, new IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said on Monday.
"Rafale is a very capable aircraft, once we induct it, it will be a gamechanger in terms of our operational capability and when we use it in combination with SU-30 and other fleets which we have, we would have a serious jump in our capability. It will give us an edge over Pakistan and China," Bhadauria told ANI soon after taking over as the 26th chief of the force.
Incidentally, Bhadauria was the chairman of the Indian negotiation team for the Rs 60,000 crore 36 Rafale combat aircraft deal and played a significant role in getting deal cleared. The Rafale deal signed in 2016 is the biggest ever defence deal signed by India.
The first Rafale Aircraft to be inducted by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in France will also have the tail number RB-01 written on it in recognition of the role played by the officer in it.
Earlier, Bhadauria visited the National War Memorial to pay his tributes soon after taking charge as the IAF Chief today.
"It is a matter of great honour for me to take over the charge of the IAF, which is one of the finest air forces in the world," he said.
Speaking about the Balakot airstrikes carried out earlier this year by the IAF, Bhadauria said that the force was prepared for action and, "We were prepared then (before the Balakot airstrikes) and many of the acquisitions were part of the plan but we were able to expedite it and we will be ready for any challenges in the future too."