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India to Continue Flying An-32 Aircraft in Mountainous Areas - IAF Chief

13 Indian Air Force personnel perished in the Antonov An-32 twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft which went down on 3 June, including eight crew members and five passengers. Inclement weather and inaccessible terrain were a major obstacle in the rescue and retrieval operations.

New Delhi (Sputnik) -  Air Chief Marshal B. S. Dhanoa of India's Air Force on Monday said India will continue to use the Antonov AN-32 transport aircraft for rescue and rehabilitation missions in the country’s mountainous areas until more modern aircraft can be procured.

His statement holds significance in view of the fact that recently an AN-32 transport aircraft had crashed in India’s remote Arunachal Pradesh state, killing all 13 people onboard.

Addressing media in the central Indian city of Gwalior after attending a seminar to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of the India-Pakistan War in northern Kargil as a guest of honour, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said the Indian Air Force is in the process of finding a modern replacement for the AN-32 aircraft, which could perform other functions, adding that it would be deployed for a critical role after it is purchased.

Given that it took 17 days of exhaustive search operations to retrieve the bodies after the aircraft disappeared from radar screens, the Indian Air Force is said to be looking to improve its rescue capabilities through the purchase of All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) following the aircraft crash that took place earlier this month.

All Terrain Vehicles are already being used by the Indian Army and the country’s paramilitary forces. These vehicles can be equipped with basic rescue and medical equipment, besides stretchers.

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