In a major boost to Indian air power, 5 Rafale jets were formally inducted into the Indian Air Force at the IAF's Ambala air force station on Thursday, September 10.
The Rafales enhance the IAF's capability at a time when India is engaged in an escalating border dispute with China in eastern Ladakh.
Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh used the occasion to send a strong message to China, noting that the induction of the French jets was crucial considering the atmosphere being created along the frontier and that it is a 'big and stern' message to those eyeing India's sovereignty.
Some military thinkers now believe that then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's decision not to deploy the IAF in the 1962 War was an error; the IAF could have changed the course of the war, since the People's Liberation Army Air Force was then poorly equipped and no match for India's air force.
2020 may be a different story with the PLAAF in a better place than it was 58 years ago even though its much ballyhooed J-20 fighter jet is considered no match for the superior Rafale.
Dominic Xavier believes the turning point if India and China go to war will be how the Rafale dominates the skies over Ladakh.
Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com