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Posted at: Apr 15, 2019, 2:42 PM; last updated: Apr 16, 2019, 11:52 AM (IST)

We were better off in recent air duel with Pakistan: IAF chief

We were better off in recent air duel with Pakistan: IAF chief
Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa unveils a bust of Late Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, at Vayu Bhawan, in New Delhi on Monday, April 15, 2019. PTI

Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 15

Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Monday said India were “better off” in the recent air duel with Pakistan.

He said the Rafale and S400 air defence missiles would restore the technological balance in favour of India, which existed at the time of the last stand-off, Operation Parakaram in 2002.

Speaking at a seminar ‘Aerospace Power in the 2040s: Impact of Technology’, he said air power is more sensitive to technology than the other forces.

He cited the Israel-Syria conflict of 1982 referred to as the Bekaa Valley clash saying Israel operating fourth-generation fighter jets had downed Syria’s third-generation planes. 

Talking about the recent air duel with Pakistan, he said, “We were better off as we had upgraded the MiG 21 Bison and also the Mirage.”

“We had successfully hit a non-military target at Balakot (February 26). Did Pakistan achieve its military objective (attempting to hit military targets on February 27)? No.” 

The IAF chief was categorical that a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) plane had been hit that day. “We have electronic signatures of Pakistan having lost a plane.” 

Arguing his point, the IAF chief said, “The PAF often says that it had lost fewer planes than the IAF in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. You (Pak) lost half of your country.” 

Almost in the same vein, the German Air Force of World War II could not say that it had won the war, he said. 

He said technology affected the IAF the most. Purchase of air-borne radars and intelligence gathering platforms would have to be fast-tracked, he said. “In such short skirmishes we cannot bring out numbers to bare, hence the need for more surveillance platforms,” he added.

The development process of fighter jets and Light Combat Aircraft (LCH) had been slow, he said. 

He expected the soon-to-be implemented Strategic Partnership model to bring in technologies that would allow production of fifth-generation fighter jets and long-range missiles. 

The seminar was held to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Marshal of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh who would have turned 100 on Monday.

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