(Juhi Aishwary, Journalist): In view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on indigenization, the Indian Air Force has pulled out of three major procurement deals worth eight thousand crores. The Air Force had plans to purchase 38 Pilot’s basic training aircraft from Switzerland, 20 additional Hawk aircraft from Britain, and 80 upgraded Jaguar fighter jets with US engines. But now these deals have been put on hold.
Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria said, “We are not moving forward on the deal to buy additional Pilot’s basic training aircraft.” There was a plan to buy an additional hawk (training aircraft), but that has been put on hold at the moment. Jaguar was also planned to be upgraded with foreign engine, the project has been canceled. These three projects have been stopped due to Make in India as well as some other reasons.
The Chief of the Air Force said that with the help of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the fighters would be upgraded. It is worth mentioning that in the past; PM Modi had spoken about ‘Vocal for Local’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’. After this, Chief of Defense Staff Bipin Rawat said in an interview in Delhi that aircraft like Tejas would increase the capacity of our aging fighter fleet.
Rawat also said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) would focus on fighter aircraft made in India and Made in India. It is believed that the decision is a major setback for foreign companies. This decision is also an indication that India will now focus on indigenous fighter jets instead of expensive foreign aircraft. It is also decided by this decision that the Defense Ministry will now have to increase the capacity of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited so that the demand of the Air Force can be met.