Air Force chief BS Dhanoa on Monday said India could have achieved better results in the Balakot airstrike if the country had Rafale jets, reported PTI.

“In the Balakot operation, we had technology on our side, and we could launch precision stand of weapons with great accuracy,” the IAF chief said while addressing a seminar on aerospace power of the future and impact of technology in Delhi. “In subsequent engagements, we came out better because we upgraded our MiG-21 Bisons, and Mirage-2000 aircraft. The results would have been further skewed in our favour had we inducted the Rafale aircraft in time.”

Dhanoa said the Balakot operation on a “non-military target with precision at night, deep inside Pakistan demonstrates our ability to hit the perpetrators of violence in our country, wherever they may be”. The Air Force claimed to have struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot area on February 26. The IAF had retaliated to a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14, which killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.

Dhanoa said the Rafale jets will be a game-changer. “In the proposed induction of the Rafale and S-400 surface-to-air missile system, in the next two [to] four years, once again the technological balance will shift in our favour, like it was in 2002 during Operation Parakaram during the last stand-off,” he added.

The Rafale jet deal is one of the main campaign topics for the Opposition. The Congress and other Opposition parties have consistently alleged corruption in the Rafale deal signed by Narendra Modi’s government. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has brought up the matter multiple times, including in recent rallies ahead of the upcoming elections. He has called the deal a “blatant case of corruption”.

The Congress has accused the government of overpaying for the fighter aircraft and claims that the deal has benefited Anil Ambani, whose company Reliance Defence was chosen to fulfil the offset obligations in the deal.

A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General on the Rafale deal was tabled in Parliament in February. The report said the deal signed in 2016 by the Narendra Modi government to buy 36 fighter jets from France was 2.86% cheaper than the offer made to the previous government in 2007. The Congress had dismissed the report, calling it an “eyewash”.