A replica of a Rafale fighter jet has been erected outside the official residence of Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa in the capital. The air force chief lives on Akbar Road in central Delhi, next to the headquarters of the Congress that has relentlessly attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the fighter jet deal with France. The controversy was at the center of Rahul Gandhi's campaign for the national election.
The first Rafale combat aircraft would be inducted into the Indian Air Force's "Golden Arrows" 17 Squadron which was commanded by Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa during the Kargil war in 1999.
The first Rafale jet expected to be handed over to the Indian Air Force in September this year but it would be required to undergo intensive 1,500 hours of testing to validate the India-specific enhancements on it. So the first batch of the four planes is likely to arrive at Ambala around May 2020.
The Rafale is a nuclear capable aircraft and an attempt to glean some of the technical specifications of the India-specific aircraft could seriously compromise its operations once inducted.
The 36-jet deal with France has been at the heart of the opposition's allegation against PM Modi and his government of crony capitalism.
Rahul Gandhi has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of cancelling the previous agreement made by the Congress-led alliance and signing off on an overpriced deal only to facilitate an offset contract for industrialist Anil Ambani's inexperienced defence company.
The government had sought cancellation of requests in the Supreme Court that sought a review of the December 14 verdict which gave a clean chit to the government on procurement of the Rafale jets. The top court had said that there was no reason for intervention by it on the "sensitive issue".
(With inputs from ANI)
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.