Former Air Force chief BS Dhanoa said that the outcome of the dogfight involving Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman could have been different had the IAF got the Rafale jets sooner.
“If Abhinandan was flying a Rafale and not a MiG-21, the equation in that air battle would have been different. Why was he not flying a Rafale, because you took ten years to decide which aircraft you want to buy,” Dhanoa said at an event here on Saturday.
Further questioning the politicisation of defence acquisition deals he added, “If you politicise defence acquisition system, the whole system goes behind. Other files also start moving at a slow pace. When could artillery get a new gun after Bofors? Bofors is good gun but was mired in controversy, same way Rafale was questioned.”
Dhanoa also termed the S-400 missile system as a ‘game-changer’ and stressed the need to speed up the defence acquisition process.
“I have always said that S-400 is a game-changer ... It is a very good deal by the government to get S-400,” Dhanoa said
During Pakistani counter-attack on India on February 27, 2019 in response to Balakot airstrikes, Abhinandan had flown a MiG 21 Bison fighter into Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Abhinandan had been grounded due to ejection from his MiG-21 which had been shot down in aerial conflict with Pakistan Air Force F-16s.
Vir Chakra awardee Varthaman who shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet post-Balakot operations had resumed flying operations on August 23. The officer has started flying after medical clearance.