Even as the nation celebrates the return of its hero, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, we should not forget that the braveheart was made to fly a MiG-21 bison well past its retirement as against the PAF F-16 fighter jet. He fought valiantly against the fourth generation, highly trusted F-16. While MiG-21 is a vintage second generation aircraft, F-16 is a far superior and highly trusted fourth generation fighter jet. The way he handled the situation is a testament to his excellent training, unmatchable valour and his nerves of steel. The talent, skill, and valour of our pilots were never in doubt. However, the question that arises is why the IAF pilot had to go through an aerial combat with the F-16 in a MiG-21 bison.
It is the unpardonable neglect of the Indian Air Force on the part of the successive Congress governments due to which the MiG-21 is still a part of the Indian Air Force and its pilots have to use the vintage aircrafts which is highly unsafe for them. MiG-21 is way past its retirement age but has still been kept operational through repeated upgrades and extensions. Failures due to old components have proved to be undoing of the Soviet era fighter jet. Infamous as the most accident-prone fighter of the IAF, the MiG-21 has earned the names “flying coffin” or the “widow maker”. Even today, 113 MiG-21s are known to be active in the Indian Air Force. Moreover, since 1963, 1,200 MiG-21s have been inducted into the IAF. This shows that the Congress which has been at the helm of affairs for a major part of the time period since India’s independence has been totally ignorant of the needs of the IAF.
The IAF had to bear heavy human cost for the Congress political leadership’s weak decision-making capabilities. Since 1970, more than 170 pilots and 40 civilians have lost their lives in air crashes involving fighter jets in combat roles and training purpose. Most of them have been attributed to the MiG-21 jets.
It is utterly shameful that the Congress remained indecisive towards the needs of the Indian Air Force, while in power. It made no sincere efforts towards phasing out the MiG-21 even though the Soviet era fighter jet is infamous for being involved in several crashes. Now that the Congress is in the opposition, it is still adamant on ensuring that the IAF is not adequately equipped. The NDA government is going to induct the French Rafale jets into the IAF. This will prove to be a shot in the arm for the IAF.
Even yesterday, Rahul Gandhi reiterated the false propaganda about the Rafale deal without any evidence. He has constantly spread a bundle of lies about the Rafale deal. Even after being exposed time and again, Rahul Gandhi has not stopped claiming that there was some sort of wrongdoing in the Rafale deal. However, even the Congress has not been able to explain what that wrongdoing was. Without any evidence or allegations of a person being a middleman or receiving kickbacks, the Congress led by Rahul Gandhi has been making weird allegations that only the grand old party seems to understand.
If Rahul Gandhi still shamelessly spreads false propaganda and outright lies about the Rafale deal, then the electorate must make him pay for it which will serve as a strong message for politicians who survive solely by spreading falsehoods and lies. Rahul Gandhi’s conduct has been unbecoming of the president of a national party and the electorate must ensure that those who are trying to prevent the IAF from gaining adequate firepower are made politically untouchable.