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Cong questions govt on why 'obsolete' AN-32 fleet of IAF was not replaced

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: June 5, 2019  | 19:03 IST

New Delhi, Jun 5 (PTI) The Congress expressed concern Wednesday over the safety and well-being of the IAF personnel on board an AN-32 aircraft that went missing in Arunachal Pradesh after taking off from Assam's Jorhat, and questioned the government on why it had not allocated resources to replace the obsolete AN-32 fleet. Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the defence minister must answer why measures were not taken after the Indian Air Force (IAF) lost an AN-32 aircraft en route to the Andaman and Nicobar islands, which was not tracked. "Pray for safety and well-being of IAF personnel and crew of missing Aircraft AN-32. Sad to know that missing AN-32 had SOS Signal Unit that's OBSOLETE. "Government must tell - Why was upgradation of AN-32 not completed despite India and Ukraine agreement of 2009?," Surjewala asked on Twitter. He said the government and the defence ministry must also answer, "Why was the AN-32 flying on that treacherous terrain when we have a better aircraft to fly on that route. Why has the government not allocated sufficient defence budget to replace the AN-32 fleet." "The Government and Defence Minister must also answer that 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 Defence Ministry," the Congress leader asked. A massive search operation involving a large fleet of planes, choppers and ground forces was underway and satellite imagery being used to trace the AN-32 transport plane of the IAF, two days after it went missing near the thickly-forested Menchuka in Arunachal Pradesh. Aircraft equipped with advanced sensors including C-130J, AN-32 and the Indian Navy's long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, P8I, were deployed, besides Mi-17 and ALH helicopters of the Army, to locate the missing plane, officials said. The Russian-origin transport aircraft, with 13 people on board, went missing on Monday afternoon, around 33 minutes after taking off from Jorhat in Assam for Menchuka, near the border with China. PTI SKC RC

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