31st January, 2012 was celebrated by Marcelle Dassault with the same vigour and fervor as the French National Day. Marcelle Dassault had sealed the biggest deal of the century. IAF had ordered 126 Rafale. French aviation giant was on the verge of collapse with no takers to its generation IV aeroplane. Indian order acted as the proverbial ‘oxygen’.
The article was authored in February, 2012, immediately after the deal was announced.


During 1962 war our political masters did not use fully operational Indian Air Force because of their belief that the then non-effective Chinese Air Force will bomb Calcutta. Somehow the fear of the Dragon makes us assign unbelievable operational capability to Chinese Air Force even today. The fact is that elements of Chinese Air Force based in Tibet Autonomous Region have extremely limited capability due to operating environment and Chinese Air Force elements based in Mainland China can strike targets deep in India only at their peril.


IAF is nearly 80 years old. Air Warriors in their magnificent flying machines have done yeoman service to the nation, both in peace and war. IAF, the major component of national Air Power will not only be required to deter our adversaries from any misadventure but also ensure favourable conflict termination situation, if and when we are forced into a conflict. But for that IAF has to remain well equipped.