“We do not purchase arms and other defence equipments to threaten any country but to increase our capabilities & strengthen our defences” says Rajnath
PARIS / AGENCIES
India’s Defence minister Rajnath Singh today received the first Rafale combat jet aircraft at Production Unit of Dassault Aviation at Mérignac in France this evening. The ceremony coincides with the foundation day of the Indian Air Force as well as the Vijaya Dashami. The Defence Minister will take a sortie in the fighter jet.
While the formal handover ceremony has taken place, the first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India only by May 2020.
At the handover ceremony, Singh called it a historic day for Indian forces, and a milestone moment for Indo-French bilateral ties as he impressed upon Dassault the need to maintain the delivery timeline. “I am happy that the delivery of Rafale is on schedule. The jet will add to the strength of our forces,” he said.
The minister, who earlier held wide-ranging talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, said his visit was aimed at “expanding the strategic partnership” between India and France.
Singh took a tour of Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation’s plant before a symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first Rafale combat jet. Arrangements have also been made for a traditional Indian Shastra Puja, or weapons’ worship which forms part of Dussehra celebrations and this year also marks Air Force Day – IAF’s 87th anniversary.
India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a deal worth 59,000 crore rupees in September 2016. While the formal handover ceremony takes place this week, the first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India by May 2020. All 36 jets are expected to arrive in India by September 2022.