NEW DELHI: Another Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-27 jet has crashed in Jodhpur city in the Thar Desert of the northwest Indian state of Rajasthan.
The pilot managed to eject safely, and the preliminary reports indicate no loss of property or life on the ground, according to the local media.
According to details, Indian officials cited “engine problems” as the possible reason for the crash of the “MiG-27 aircraft which got airborne from Utarlai Air Force base”.
This is the second Indian jet to crash this month; earlier on March 8, the IAF lost an MiG-21 after it crashed while on routine patrol in Rajasthan because of a “bird hit after take off”.
On February 27, amid simmering conflict between India and Pakistan, Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian fighter jets, including a MiG-21 Bison which was being flown by Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan.
Commander Abhinandan was captured by troops and later released by the Pakistani government as a gesture of peace towards India.
On March 2, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while admitting loss to the IAF, said that the results of the dogfight would have been different if India had inducted Rafale fighter jets into its air force.
“The country has felt the shortage of Rafale. Today, India is speaking in one voice and saying what all could have happened if we had Rafale. Ego politics over the Rafale deal has harmed the nation,” he said while addressing the “India Today Conclave 2019.”
The comment was seen as a veiled swipe at the MiG-21.
The Rafale deal was agreed by the Manmohan Singh-led government with France, but Modi changed its terms, which the opposition says was aimed to benefit a businessman close to Modi.
Modi has been accused of using the 2016 multi-billion dollar accord between India and French aircraft manufacturer Dassault for Rafale aircraft to favour a key billionaire backer.
Dassault initially won the contract to supply 126 jets to India in 2012, with 18 to be built in France and the rest in India in collaboration with the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
However, during a visit to France in 2015 Modi scrapped the deal, signed under the previous government led by the Congress party, and ordered instead 36 jets — all to be built in France — for an estimated $9.4 billion. —NNI