A new shipment of Jets
India has received five new Rafale fighter jets. As part of India’s deal with France from 2016. Yesterday, around 2 PM these five aircraft touched down at the Indian airbase at Ambala. Jets flew from Istres, France had a stopover Al Dhafra, UAE, and finally reached Ambala, India.
Additionally, the BJP led government has lobbied for these crafts especially after a standoff and limited skirmish with Pakistan. Moreover, the Indian prime minister emphasized on the procurement of these multirole crafts personally. He accused the absence of these craft as the reason for defeat in air combat with Pakistan’s air force.
Analysts say the arrival of the jets will boost the morale of the Indian air force, which has been facing a shortage of fighter aircraft.
Social media hype
Indian social media was full of posts and trends regarding the arrival of these jets. It seems certain tools/bots were used to hype up the arrival of Rafale aircraft. Officials of BJP’s government including twitter account of Indian prime minister Modi, Defence Minister, and others specially covered this arrival as a national achievement.
BJP is already blamed for the use of IT for its political motives. Its IT cell is infamous for pressurizing journalists and media to push BJP’s agenda.
Rafales are not enough
Additionally, Delhi is hoping to modernize its dwindling Soviet-era air force fleet with the induction of Rafale multi-role jets. Though experts warn that these aircraft cannot be used right away in case of a conflict.
Furthermore, Air Marshal (retd) Pranab Kumar Barbora, who oversaw the induction of the Jaguar aircraft fleet, told BBC that ” it will take a while before these aircraft are fully operational. You have to set up a logistics chain, train technical and ground staff in India,” he said.
He added that it usually takes up to two years before a new squadron is fully functional. The Rafale squadron will be fully operational when it has at least 18 aircraft. The delivery of the remaining Rafale aircraft will be complete by next year.