During the five-hour-long hearing in the Supreme Court over the controversial Rafale deal case on Wednesday, the Centre, to put forth its argument, said that the French fighter jets would have been of great help during the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan.
Justifying the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, Attorney General K K Venugopal told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that had the fighter jets been used during the Kargil war in 1999, the number of casualties would have been less,
"Soldiers lost their lives in the Kargil war. Had Rafale been used during the war, it could have hit the hilltops from 60 kilometers away," Attorney General K K Venugopal said.
The CJI then said, "Mr. Attorney, Kargil was in 1999-2000? Rafale came in 2014."
"I meant hypothetically, if Rafale would have been there during the Kargil war," Venugopal laughed and said.
He said that all due procedures were followed while entering into the inter-government agreement with France for acquisition of 36 Rafale jets, and all decisions were approved by the Defence Acquisition Council.
"This is a sensitive area and a necessity of the country. Even the Air Force chief has been writing to us to enhance the capability of the force owing to depleting fleet of aircraft," the AG said while concluding his arguments during the day-long hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the Rafale deal.
(With PTI inputs)