Indian Air Force is capable of handling Pakistan Air Force without any problem says IAF Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi. The possibilities were there for a long time. American Administration just made it official.
India’s biggest concern from the politicians is not that Pakistan will pose a real danger with these F16s. But the fact that it can derail the peace process and instigate Pakistan’s military to challenge India again.
“Of course, their capabilities will change, and I will have to take that into account. But this offer is not new. Basically, it has been on the cards for a while, it is just that the US State Department has formalised their offer,” Tyagi said.
“We were interested and therefore had requested information from Lockheed-Martin, and now that information should be with us soon. We will wait for it.”
Asked if the IAF was concerned about the new edge the Pakistani Air Force will now have, Tyagi said: “The government has already made its statement on this. The IAF cannot think differently from the government.”
The F-16 will compete with the Swedish JAS-39 Gripen, Russian MiG-29 and French Mirage-2000-5. The procurement of 126 fighters is being seen as a stop-gap for the IAF, considering delays in the LCA Tejas weaponisation programme and the time it will take to produce home-made Sukhoi-30MKIs in Nashik.
The 126 fighters will fill the medium-range multi-role fighter requirement, wedged between the Sukhois at the higher end and LCA Tejas at the lower end.
It will difficult to match India’s homemade Sukhoi-30MKIs. They are far superior planes. India’s Tejas will act as age old Gnat that was famous for creating miracle.