'Why An-32 was not upgraded': Congress attacks defence ministry amid hunt for missing aircraft
New Delhi, June 05: Congress on Wednesday attacked Centre for not upgrading the Indian Air Force's An 32 aircrafts, one of which went missing over Arunachal airspace on Monday.
A Russian-origin AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force with 13 people on board went missing on Monday afternoon around 33 minutes after taking off from Jorhat in Assam for Arunachalâ€TMs Menchuka near the border with China.
Quoting a report in a defence news portal, Randeep Singh Surjewala said that he was sad to learn "that missing AN-32 had SOS Signal Unit thatâ€TMs OBSOLETE" and questioned the government on why were the aircrafts were not upgraded despite an agreement.
"Pray for safety & well-being of IAF personnel & crew of missing Aircraft AN-32. Sad to know that missing AN-32 had SOS Signal Unit thatâ€TMs OBSOLETE. Govt must tell- Why was upgradation of AN-32 not completed despite India & Ukraine agreement of 2009?" Surjewala's tweet said.
Surjewala also asked a series of questions:
Why was the AN-32 flying on that treacherous terrain when IAF has better aircraft to fly on that route?
Why the missing AN-32 had SOS Signal Unit which was obsolete?
Why was upgradation of the missing aircraft not completed despite India and Ukraine agreement of 2009?
Why has the Centre not allocated sufficient defence budget to replace the AN-32 fleet?
Despite a similar accident earlier of losing an AN-32 aircraft en-route to Andaman and Nicobar islands and which was not tracked, why have mitigating measures not been taken by the Ministry of Defence?
The defence officials said that a massive search operation involving a large fleet of planes, choppers and ground force was underway and satellite imagery being used to trace an AN-32 transport plane of the IAF.
ISRO's Cartosat and RISAT satellites are taking images of the area around Menchuka to help the rescuers find the plane.