Rajnath Singh performs a Shastra Puja on the plane at Merignac airport
Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh on October 8 received the first of the 36 long-awaited Rafale fighter jets on behalf of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in France. India had signed an agreement with France for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of Rs. 59,000 crore in September 2016. The first batch of four jets will come next May.
On the occasion Shri Rajnath Singh said it will enhance the capabilities of the Indian Air Force and lay a global blueprint for successful defence cooperation between two responsible states. He also thanked the French state for providing support and training to Indian Air force pilots.
All 36 jets are expected to arrive in India by September 2022, for which the IAF has been reportedly undertaking preparations.
Shri Rajnath Singh took a sortie in Rafale combat jet at Merignac in France. After taking his nearly 25-minute sortie in the Rafale Shri Singh described it as very comfortable and smooth.
Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh, who changed into combat flight gear for the ride after he had performed a Shastra Puja on the plane at Merignac airport, said the aircraft will enhance the Indian Air Force combat capability massively — intended only for self-defence.
“We do not purchase arms and other defence equipments to threaten any country but to increase our capabilities & strengthen our defences. The credit for the acquisition of the Rafale jets must go to PM Shri Narendra Modi. His decisiveness has greatly benefited our national security,” Shri Singh tweeted.
Describing his sortie in Rafale as a memorable and once in a lifetime experience, he said, “I had never imagined that I would be flown at supersonic speed; a very comfortable and smooth flight during which I was able to observe the many capabilities of the jet, its air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities”.
-With inputs from PTI