Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne on Thursday said that India's agreement to buy 126 Rafale fighter jets from France's Dassault Aviation is of the 'highest priority' in the upcoming budget for the financial year 2013-14.
India picked the Rafale jets for exclusive negotiations over a year ago after a hotly contested bidding war with rival manufacturers, but is still to finalise the deal.
"As we mentioned yesterday, the mother of all cases is the MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft). In my view, the MMRCA takes the highest priority," Browne said at the 9th Aero India show here.
"We are going to have a very formidable capability. In fact, the capability that you seek and what you need to build up to that you pose a very strong deterrent posture in the region. It is not directed against China, or this or that. It is for every body. We need to have a strong and potent airpower capability in the country, to meet any threats or challenges," said the IAF Chief.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) currently relies heavily on the Soviet-era Mikoyan MiG-21 fighters, often dubbed 'flying coffins' in for the high crash rates. (ANI)