New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) chief RKS Bhadauria, in a press conference on Friday, highlighted the achievement of the force in the last one year and also admitted that it was, in fact, an Indian missile that downed an IAF Mi-17 chopper in Budgam on February 27.
Addressing the media ahead of the Air Force Day on October 8, Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Bhadauria, who, on September 30, took over as IAF chief said that in the past 12 months, it had achieved many important milestones, including successfully targeting the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26. He further said that in the aerial battle between the two Air Forces the next day, India lost a MiG-21 and while Pakistan lost an F-16.
On the Mi-17 chopper crash at Budgam on the day of the aerial battle, the IAF chief said, “Court of Inquiry is completed and it was our mistake as our missile had hit our own chopper. We will take action against the two officers. We accept this was our big mistake and we will ensure such mistakes are not repeated in future.”
He further praised the incoming Rafale jets and the S-400 Air Defence missile system, saying that these will help bolster the capability of the IAF.
On the issue of Pakistani drones being found in Punjab, he said, “Small drones are a new threat and some procurements are already in process to tackle the issue. It is a space violation issue and necessary action has been initiated in this aspect.”
Lastly, on being questioned about the possibility of another Balakot-like strike, he said that the IAF will act as per the government’s directions.
ACM Bhadauria is the 26th chief of the IAF. It is after him that the tail number of the first Rafale that India has received, is named ‘RB-01‘, as he played an important role in finalising the deal between India and France.