In popular Indian folklore, the legendary Ravan had ten heads and yet he fell and fell hard. I find it bemusing that India fails to take a wisdom leaf from its own popular culture. It is my understanding that simply adorning a heavy suit of armor never guarantees the outcome in a jostle. Dexterity and an unflinching inner spirit along with just cause do still count for something, and India should know that. Unleashing the use of unauthorized force to overpower the defenseless Kashmiri nation for the propagation of its own sinister motives is not just cause, and simply trying to put up a show of aviation power on the world stage to try and cower a mighty adversary like China which is already the owner of the finest combat aircraft technology in the world right alongside the United States will prove to be a mere ripple in the political scheme of things. India has received the first 5 Dassault Rafale Fighter Jets.
Pakistan Air Force
India also need not forget that On 7 July 2017, The Pakistan Air Force had announced its “Project Azm” to develop fifth-generation fighters and MALE UAVs. This design configuration indicates that the PAF intends to produce a platform capable of heavier payloads and range than even the mighty JF-17. The PAF is also reportedly considering buying between 30 and 40 Chinese stealth combat aircraft to replace the F-16 fighter jets produced by Lockheed Martin Corporation of the US. The FC-31 is designed to fly close air support, air interdiction, and other missions. India also needs not to lose sight of the fact that China, the United States, and Russia are the top three combat aircraft carrier countries in the world.
Even in the Olympics, there is no fourth place; there’s gold, silver, and bronze. Why celebrate the Rafale anyway, as the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon belonging to the United States of America, and the CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder belonging to China and Pakistan, are the top Multirole combat Aircraft around! The JF-17 also happens to be one of the most economical – more bang for the buck. India has purchased 36 Rafale jets from France at a cost of Rs 60,000 crore!! The Rafales will be divided between two squadrons. While the first squadron of Rafale jets will be operational from Ambala in the western sector, the other one will come up in Hasimara in West Bengal. A futile effort to say the least! As reported earlier by EurAsian Times, Russian aviation experts had claimed that Rafale jets would be useless against the Chinese Airforce (PLAAF). The maximum speed of the Rafale jet is about Mach 1.8 compared to Chinese J-16s at Mach 2.2.
The Rafale Rejection
The neighborhood media is celebrating the arrival of these Rafales as if they, God forbid, won a war against Pakistan. If the Rafale is so good, why did countries like Oman, Korea, Singapore, Libya, Kuwait, Canada, Brazil, Belgium, UAE, Switzerland, and Malaysia all refuse to buy it? So many snubs from major countries in the world and yet, India, recently hushed in Ladakh by China and desperate to save some face in the political allegiance of all things global celebrates a frivolous expansion in its aircraft artillery at such a monumental price! Aviation Analysts have explained that despite heavy marketing by Dassault, the makers of Rafale, France’s relatively small and inefficient defense sector has reached its quota with the fighter program. Production of the aircraft is not quick or efficient anymore, and the French budget for research and development is much smaller as compared to the United States or even Russia for that matter.
The Expensive Rafale
The Rafales are quite expensive whereas most nations prefer to buy American aviation not just for its technical superiority but also for the willingness to please the Americans over the French. The Rafales have seemingly lost the fight in the international market, despite their tall claims of excellent quality. Before India loses its head in over its premature celebrations, it also needs to keep the popular myth from folklore in perspective a little bit. After all, an old English expression puts it most eloquently well – the bigger they are the harder they fall. India can celebrate the acquisition of Rafales all it wants, the blood of innocent Kashmiris on India’s political conscience has revealed to the whole world that raining daggers can never become a substitute for joyful confetti.