The newly appointed chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria, referred to the earlier botched Balakot airstrike and claimed the force was prepared before and "will be prepared next time".
The belligerent statement comes as Bhadauria takes charge of IAF after the retirement Air Marshal BS Dhanoa – who oversaw the failed airstrike in February and the embarrassing failure of his fighter aircraft on February 27.
"We were prepared then, we will be prepared next time. We will be ready to face any challenge, any threat,” said Bhadauria.
Talking about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement of not using nuclear weapons as it will have serious consequences for the region, Bhadauria said, “That is their understanding of nuclear aspects. We have our own understanding, our own analysis. We will be ready to face any challenge".
According to India Today, Air Marshal Bhadauria claimed that the induction of multi-role Rafale jets in the IAF would give New Delhi an "edge" over Pakistan and China. India is inducting 36 Rafales.
“My first priority is the modernisation and indigenous capability in view of all budget constraints,” he said. “Rafale will be a game-changer in our operational capability. It will give India an edge over Pakistan and China."
Pakistan rejects Indian army chief's claims of 'reactivating terror camp'
Earlier, the Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat – in another irresponsible statement – had alleged a day earlier that a “terror camp in Balakot had been reactivated and 500 militants were waiting to infiltrate India”.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal rebutted the statement as baseless and added that New Delhi’s allegations of infiltration from Pakistan were a desperate attempt to divert international attention from the humanitarian nightmare in occupied Kashmir.