New Delhi, Oct 21: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said recent that had India possessed the Rafale fighter jets earlier, the Indian Air Force would have not have needed to enter Pakistan to hit terror camps.
"Had we possessed Rafale fighter jets we would not have required to enter Balakot and launch a strike. We could have struck at Balakot while sitting in India," he said.
To find out how different the strike at Balakot would have been had we possessed the Rafale in February, OneIndia caught up with Air Marshal (retd), B K Pandey.
The Rafale is a more capable jet when compared to the Mirage 2000, says B K Pandey. However, according to me, the Rafale would be more relevant if it is used against the Pakistan Air Force. In such an operation, the Rafale would have been required more, he says. There is no doubt that the Rafale would have been extremely effective in a Balakot like strike, but it would be more deadly against the Pakistan Air Force. We really cannot manage with a Mirage or the Jaguars.
In the Balakot strike, the Mirage 2000 too was very effective. A lot of factors made the strike an effective one. The selection of 3 am as the time was one such step. That is the time the guard is the lowest and to get the system to react, it takes a long time, Pandey says.
That was decisive planning and the Pakistan side could not react, B K Pandey also said.
With regard to the dog-fight between India and Pakistan, the Air Marshal Pandey says that it was the AMRAM which got the Indian air craft down. Abhinandan Varthamanan successfully targeted the F-16s. If the Rafale had been used, it would have flown low and it would have been armed with heavy weapons. And also it would not have been expected to be engaged in a dog-fight. For a dog fight a SU-30 is more suitable, Pandey also says.
On the Shastra Puja performed by Singh while taking delivery of the Rafale jets, B K Pandey asks what is wrong. The Pakistan's sacrifice a goat when they induct a new programme. It always happens and hence I don't know what the fuss is about, he adds.