President Pranab Mukherjee sent a condolence message to Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, saying he was saddened to learn about the tragic crash. "I am sure that all necessary help and assistance is being provided to the next of kin of the deceased pilot and medical aid is also being provided to the injured co-pilot," the president said.
He prayed for peace of the departed soul and speedy recovery of the injured co-pilot. Jaitley said in New Delhi: "It is a matter of great concern. My heart goes out to the pilot who lost his life." The air force has ordered a court of inquiry.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, expressing grief at the accident, said the new central government needed to address the issue of defence procurement at the earliest. "Not entirely disconnected from today's crash the new government needs to sort (out) defence procurement issue for Navy, Air Force & Army ASAP," Abdullah tweeted.
He also expressed grief over the death of the pilot and condoled his family, friends and colleagues. The Russian-made MiG 21 (Bis) of the type that crashed Tuesday was the IAF's first supersonic fighter ans completed 50 years in service April 2013.
Despite several accidents in past, the MiG-21 is likely to remain operational in its upgraded version until 2019 - two years later than they were originally scheduled to be decommissioned.