The Indian Air Force Chief says Rafale jet should come into India’s inventory by September 2019.
“We don’t count human casualties, we count what targets we have hit or not hit,” Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa, told the media at the Air Force Station, Sulur here on Monday.
He was responding to questions on the number of casualties in the Balakot air strikes last week.
“The statement on casualties will be made by the government. The IAF is not in a position to clarify on how many people were there,” he said.
There have been varying claims on the number of terrorists killed in the strikes.
“If we plan to hit the target, we hit the target. Otherwise why would they (Pakistan) respond? If we had dropped bombs in the jungle, there was no need for them (Pakistan) to respond,” said the Air Chief.
He said the Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) by the IAF done after the mission calculates the number of targets “you have hit or not been able to hit.”
“We cannot count how many people died. That depends on how many people were there,” he stated.
On reports that the bombs were off target, he said, “I don’t know from where you got this report. Our report says otherwise.”
Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent comments that if the Rafale jets had been there the results of the strikes would have been different, he declined to comment saying, “The Prime Minister made a statement.”
On Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was in Pakistan custody for two days after his MiG-21 jet came down in their territory, he said whether he will fly again or not depends on his medical fitness.
Explaining how ejection from a fighter jet is very stressful, he said, “That is why post-ejection he has undergone a medical checkup. Thereafter whatever treatment is required will be given to him. Once he gets his medical fitness, then only will he get into a cockpit.”