Air Force chief RKS Bhadauria on Saturday said that the 36 Rafale fighter jets, which are scheduled to arrive from France, will be inducted into the Air Force by 2022 and that the induction plan is going according to plan, following the set timeline.
"The target is 2022. It is absolutely on target. I mentioned earlier…In fact, some deliveries have been ahead of time. We are absolutely on target on the Rafale induction plan,” Bhadauria told reporters after reviewing the Combined Graduation Parade (CGP) at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, Telangana.
Earlier, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh had announced that the 36-Rafale jets, which India procured from France through an inter-governmental agreement signed in 2016, will reach the country by April 2022. India had procured the jets at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
Meanwhile, when asked for his assessment on the situation in eastern Ladakh on the Indo-China border, the IAF Chief said talks are on between the two sides and the first attempt is to continue with the parleys and carry out the disengagement at the "balance friction points."
"The first attempt is to continue with the talks and do the disengagement at the balance friction points.
And, of course, follow it up with de-escalation," he said.
"However, in parallel, the ground realities are being monitored closely. Whatever is the reality across, in terms of current leftover locations, deployments, any changes, that is being monitored closely and whatever actions are required on our part, we are taking, Bhadauria said.
(With PTI inputs)