Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister of India, on the 8th of October, concluded the India-France Defence Dialogue with Florence Parly, the French Armed Forces Minister, in Paris.
Rajnath Singh is on a three day visit to France where he attended the induction and handover ceremony of the first Rafale jets slated for the Indian Air Force (IAF.) The induction event was organised in Bordeaux, France, where French ministers and Indian Defence leaders were present.
On the 8th of October, which was also the Air Force Day, Mr. Singh received the delivery of the first Rafale combat jet for the Indian Air Force (IAF.)
He inaugurated the grand handover ceremony of the Rafale jet and said, “This marks a new milestone in the Indo-French strategic partnership and indeed a new high in the bilateral defence cooperation. Such achievements encourage us to do more and that will be on my agenda when I meet minister Parly.” Singh also performed ‘Shastra Puja’ on the new Rafale aircraft before flying a sortie in it.
On the 9th of October, Mr. Singh is scheduled to visit a facility owned by the French multinational company, Safran, which produces the engines for the Rafale fighter jets.
He also met Emmanuel Macron, the President of France at the Elysee Palace. During the meeting, both the leaders discussed the India-France relationship.
Later in the day, Mr. Singh will meet captains of French business and industry and will give a formal invite for them to participate in the DefExpo, which is scheduled to be held from the 5th of February 2020, in Lucknow.
Out of the 36 Rafale combat jets, 18 are scheduled to be delivered by February 2021, whereas, remaining 18 would be delivered to India by May 2022.
Mr. Rajnath Singh said, “This aircraft marks a massive enhancement in the Indian Air Force combat capability but that enhancement is not for attack purposes but as a deterrent for self defence. And, the credit for this milestone goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose decisiveness has made this crucial air enhancement possible today.”
The Rafale aircraft will be used in the air bases in Ambala in Punjab and Hasimara in West Bengal.
Stay tuned for further updates.