Explained Featured National

How Important a Shastra the Rafale is for India

Shastra Puja of Rafale

The nation can’t stop talking about the glorious chapter India has opened yesterday (October 8) with the formal induction of the first Rafale fighter jet from France. The images of ‘Shastra Puja’ of Rafale have enthralled the popular discourse signifying the new India which is rapidly modernizing to meet the future needs and at the same time taking pride in the traditional roots as the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performed the puja that coincided with Vijaya Dashami. It is important at this juncture to take note how important a moment it is for India. These facts will tell you how important a weapon the Rafale is going to be in India’s arsenal.

  • IAF’s (Indian Air Force) Mirage 2000 and the Su-30 MkI – are classified as either third- or fourth-generation fighters. Rafale, categorised as a 4.5 generation aircraft for its radar-evading stealth profile.
  • The MiG fighter jets that have once brought glory to India were making negative news lately due to frequent crashes taking the precious lives of our pilots.
  • Previously, IAF officers on record have said that Rafale prevents Pakistan from posing a threat by coming anywhere near the Line of Control. Pakistan has nothing equaling Rafale. It’s Multi-role F -16 was shot down by India’s MiG Bison in the dogfight after Balakot strike and one can only imagine the capability India has built with the induction of Rafale.
  • IAF always wanted Rafale-like fighter jet, but after initiating the procurement process, previous UPA government had put it on cold storage. The then Defence Minister A K Antony had said on record that the government had no money to purchase Rafale.
The Long Wait Ends

To understand the importance of Rafale into IAF and how it is a big morale boost for our forces, one needs to revisit some painful headlines of the past surrounding the fighter jets especially the variants of MiG. It can be argued that the fighter jets from MiG series have served the nation in their time, however , it was obvious that the four-decades old Soviet era planes can’t be suited for modern warfare with perfection.

Let’s go back to 1999 to read this report from Rediff, that had underlined the concerns of aging planes.

A report from India Today filed in 1998 and updated in 2013 had this to say.

A report in May 2012, quoted a Rajya Sabha reply.

“The Rajya Sabha was informed that over the last 40 years, India had lost more than half of its MiG combat fleet of 872 aircraft. The minister disclosed that ‘482 MiG aircraft accidents took place till April 19, 2012’. Antony also revealed that these crashes led to the loss of precious lives of 171 pilots, 39 civilians and eight persons from other services.”

The grim situation once again admitted in the parliament in 2013.

Despite all of these, Defence Minister in UPA time had this to say.

Now, you just revisit the defining moments of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s Shastra Puja in France and also recall what the then Air Chief Marshal had said about the Rafale.