New Delhi: Amid the rising clamour on the Rafale deal, the Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, on Wednesday said by acquiring the French fighters the IAF was strengthening its depleting fleet. 

“By providing the Rafale and the S-400 (anti-missile system), the government is strengthening the Indian Air Force to counter the shortfall of our depleting numbers of aircraft,” he said at an event here.

No country in the world is facing the kind of grave threat that India is confronted with, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said Wednesday. He said intentions of adversaries can change overnight and the Air Force needs to match their force level.

 

Pointing to IAF’s strength coming down to 31 squadrons from the sanctioned strength of 42, Dhanoa said India faced a shortage of fighter aircraft despite the threat of a two-front war with Pakistan and China.

“Very few countries are facing challenges like us. We have two nuclear-armed neighbours. We have to match neighbours Pakistan and China to tackle a two-front war,” he said.

The air chief also said that India’s neighbours are not sitting idle and countries like China are modernising its air force significantly.

Earlier this month, the IAF Vice Chief, Air Marshal SB Deo too, had endorsed the Rafale, deal saying the aircraft will give India “unprecedented combat capabilities”.