Chairman Chief's Staff Committee and outgoing Air chief Air Marshal Arup Raha said General Praveen Bakshi - who was superseded - and General Bipin Rawat - who is taking over as the next Army Chief - were both competent officers.
Questioning the decision to supersede the senior most general would, however, weaken the position of the Chief of Army Staff, Air Marshal Raha said. He was speaking to reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday. This is first reaction from the services on the unusual move of ignoring seniority when selecting the next Chief.
Air Marshal Raha is senior most commander of the country and heads the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha also came out in support of former IAF chief SP Tyagi, who is being investigated by the CBI for allegedly receiving kick backs in the purchase of VVIP Helicopters.
Air Chief Raha said we stand by him till he is proven guilty. Air Chief Raha said the former Chief was part of the IAF family and we stand by him, however, if charges are proved we have no sympathy.
The outgoing Chief also said blaming the IAF alone for the AgustaWestland bribery scandal wasn't correct.
Raha said,"The arrest of former IAF Chief has repurcussions."
Till he is not convicted we have to give him his due, he said and added "If charges are proved we have no sympathy."
On the IAFs requirement, the Air chief said IAF needed an additional 200-250 fighter jets to meet the short fall arising out of future phasing out of the MiG 21 jets.
The IAF needs about 42 squadrons (each of 16-18 jets) of fighters but has only 33 squadrons. Moreover, it will lose approximately 9 squadrons in the next few years. The aging MiG-21 will have to decommissioned.
Raha said while putting the collective need at 200-250 jets in the next ten years.
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