Use common sense, PM tells Oppn on his Rafale remarks

Asking opposition parties to use common sense, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday slammed them for questioning his statement that the presence of Rafale fighter jets would have given greater firepower to the IAF during the February 27 aerial engagement with Pakistan.

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal B.S Dhanoa declined to comment on the prime minister's statement that Rafale jets would have a made a difference.

"I said if Rafale was acquired in time it would have made a difference (during the February 27 dogfight), but they(opposition parties) say Modi is questioning our air force strike," Modi said, addressing a gathering in Jamnagar.

"Please use common sense. What I said was if we had Rafale at the time (of aerial dogfight), then none of our fighter jets would have gone down and none of theirs saved," he added. India lost one MiG 21 jet during the fierce dogfight in which one F-16 warplane of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was also shot down.

"If they (opposition) don't understand me what can I do. They have their own limitations," he told the audience during his 40-minute speech rendered in Gujarati.

Dhanoa told reporters in Coimbatore that the Rafale fighters should come into India's inventory by September.

"Yes, we have a plan for inducting new aircraft and that is why we have signed contract for 36 Rafale jets."

Eventually, Jaguar, MiG29, and Mirage 2000 aircraft will be replaced by Tejas Mk-2 and then the 'next step' will be on Advanced Medium Combat Aircrafts, he said.

When an adversary attacks you, every aircraft is used, Dhanoa said, adding that the MiG 21 jet used in the dogfight with Pakistan is an upgraded aircraft with advanced weapons system.

(with news agency inputs)