New Delhi, Jun 5: The Indian National Congress on Wednesday flayed the Centre and Defence Ministry for not upgrading the IAF's AN-32 transport aircraft fleet despite an agreement signed in 2009 with Ukraine.
The comments came two days after an AN-32 aircraft, with 13 onboard, which had taken off from Jorhat in Assam for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh, went missing.
Quoting a media report, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala took to micro-blogging site Twitter and said, "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 that’s Obsolete Govt must tell- Why was upgradation of AN-32 not completed despite India & Ukraine agreement of 2009?'
In the series of tweets, Mr Surjewala said,'Govt & Def Ministry must also answer-: 1. Why was the AN-32 flying on that treacherous terrain when we have a better aircraft to fly on that route. 2. Why has the Govt not allocated sufficient defence budget to replace the AN-32 fleet?
"Govt & Def Minister must also answer-: 3. Despite a similar accident earlier of losing an AN-32 aircraft en route to Andaman and Nicobar islands & which was not tracked, why have mitigating measures not been taken by Defence Ministry?"
Search operations are under way in the areas of Along, Payum and Tato, 30 km from Mechuka advance landing ground in Arunachal Pradesh near the China border.
With time running out, Indian Space Research Organisation on Tuesday deployed CARTOSAT and RISAT satellites and the Navy pressed into service its spy aircraft, aiding the efforts to search for the aircraft in Assam-Arunachal Pradesh region. (UNI)