New Delhi: Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne today praised the helicopter pilot who refused to fly Rahul Gandhi last month during his Assam visit, saying he had done the "right" thing keeping in view the safety of occupants, pilot and the crew.
Browne also said the force will not break any rule to achieve the tasks keeping in mind the safety of occupant, pilot and crew. "I am very proud of the pilot who refused to fly Rahul Gandhi, because it is not the question of allowing or
refusing. It is the question of doing it right," he said.
Replying to a question by media persons over the incident last month, he said, "The safety of the occupants, safety of the helicopter, pilots life and crew has its importance and we will not break any rule to achieve the task."
The incident had occurred last month during the visit of the Congress General Secretary to riot-hit areas of Assam. While travelling back to Guwahati with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, he was denied permission by the IAF officials to
take off due to the bad weather.
The IAF chief also rejected reports that on few instances the Air Force choppers did not reach in time to evacuate people from Naxal-affected areas.
Citing a recent media report, he said he had also written to Defence Minister A K Antony complaining about such stories which presented a wrong picture regarding his force.
"I had written to Defence Minister A K Antony complaining that someone has put such an allegation on us and that was highly appreciated by the Ministry," Browne said. He said delays in air support of any nature in Naxal-affected areas have happened due to bad weather and other adverse conditions.
The IAF chief also praised the pilots who were tipped Rs 50,000 each by Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie while flying from Mumbai to New Delhi.
"My immediate reaction was that I am proud of the boys who promptly said that this is the situation and what do I do with this. They were quite foxed as they never face this situations and I think it was a tip from the Chinese Defence Minister," Browne said when asked about the incident.
He said whether the Chinese do these things in other parts of the world, "I don't know but we did the right thing promptly by informing the government and depositing money in toshakhana (depository) which is richer by some thousand rupees."
The incident had occurred during the trip of Chinese Defence Minister to India last month for the defence talks between the two countries.