Paris: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh officially received the first Rafale fighter jet supplied by France to India. The Defence Minister even took a sortie in the fighter jet. The meaning of Rafale is a gust of wind. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said he was confident that the fighter jet would live up to its name. The Indian Defence Minister met French President Emmanuel Macron and discussed about making the India-France defence cooperation more comprehensive.
The Defence Minister conducted a ‘Shastra Puja’ after officially receiving the first Rafale Jet at the Merignac airbase of Dassault Aviation in France. The Defence Minister expressed satisfaction that it was received on the auspicious occasion of ‘Vijaya Dashmi’ along with the 87th Indian Airforce Day. The Defence Minister said at this time that France is a strategic partner country for India. Rajnath Singh also asserted that the strategic cooperation will be strengthened and will be made more comprehensive in the time to come. A video presentation regarding the capabilities of the Rafale fighter jet was also screened during the program.
India signed a deal worth Rs. 5.9 trillion, for 36 Rafale fighter jets with France, in 2016. As per the deal, Rafale fighter jets equipped with Meteor and Scalp missiles will be supplied to India. Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction over the timely completion of the program, while accepting the first delivery. The Defence Minister expressed confidence that the induction of the Rafale jets will increase the capabilities of the Indian Airforce tremendously. One squadron of the Rafale fighter jets will be deployed at the Ambala Airforce base in Haryana whereas, the second squadron will be deployed at the Hashimara Airforce base in West Bengal. The first Rafale jet delivered to India has been named ‘RB001’ after the name of the current IAF chief Raj Kumar Bhadauria.
Meanwhile, it is said that India will receive the 36 Rafale fighter jets by September 2022. It is also reported that India is in negotiation for 36 more Rafale jets with France, while this transaction is being completed. But details of these negotiations are not available. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met French President Macron and held discussions for nearly 35 minutes.
India is building the Scorpene submarines in collaboration with France and the technology for these submarines is being supplied by France. France is keen on supplying the naval version of the Rafale Jets to India. India is immensely benefiting from this developing partnership. A few days ago, France had refused permission to President of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, Masood Khan, to address the French parliament, on Indian request.