On Tuesday morning, the dismal condition of IAF further came to light when a Jaguar fighter crashed 13 km east of Allahabad. Fortunately, the two pilots were able to eject themselves and escape the ordeal. The hapless condition of IAF can be judged from the fact that it is down to 35 squadrons, with some of them existing only on paper.
This was the sixth fighter IAF jet to crash since January of this year, a stat that should ring alarm bells for India. India’s hostile neighbour Pakistan has one of the best air forces in the world and so does China. India is involved in border disputes and has militarily been confronted by both Pakistan and China in the past. The IAF has a battle on its hands with its fast-depleting fighter strength, which will progressively get worse with the virtually obsolete MiG-21s and MiG-27s headed for long-delayed retirement.
Whilst the Chinese have almost three times the number of fighter jets than India, Pakistan Air Force is also flying close to the Indians. Pakistan Air Force has 21 combat squadrons at their disposal, with four more soon to be added to the overall quantity. India and Pakistan have fought three wars with each other, and it is a known fact that PAF has always bested the Indian Air Force in encounters.
The Indian Air Force has recorded more than 1,100 crashes since 1970, mainly due to technical defect and maintenance faults. Since 2011-2012, the Indian Air Force has lost 15 helicopters and 35 aircrafts in crashes.
Pakistan’s M.M.Alam is one of the most celebrated pilots in the world. He holds the world record for shooting down five Indian fighter aircraft in 55 seconds. Pakistan Air Force has also been instrumental in the Operation Zarb e Azb that has been waged by the country’s military against militants. With accuracy and precision, the PAF has been instrumental in taking out militants’ hideouts.