'Shastra Pooja' by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh upon delivery of first Rafale

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh meets with Defence Advisor to the French President Admiral Bernard Rogel in Paris Tuesday Oct. 8 2019. Singh is in France for an official handover ceremony of the first Rafale fighter jet acquired by the Indian Ai

Meanwhile, Duchateau said that Rajnath Singh was flown at supersonic speed and was shown various aircraft manoeuvres.

In his address at the Rafale handing over Ceremony in Merignac, Singh emphasised on the focus to equip the IAF and enhance its capabilities, saying that the new Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) will make India stronger and will give a boost to its air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region. We mark this day to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. "It is also the 87th Air Force Day, therefore the day becomes symbolic in so many ways", he added.

India will only be the fourth country, after France, Egypt and Qatar, to fly the Rafale.

"Rafale will add to the strength of IAF".

Half a dozen American F-15 aircraft can probably destroy our entire Air Force, and possibly our entire artillery, tanks and missiles too. The French defence minister has handed over Rafale to me. "I am sure that the jet will live up to its name", Rajnath Singh said.

Singh performed Shastra Puja (worship of weapons) after receiving the first of the 36 Rafale jets in the French port city of Bordeaux on Tuesday.

Before coming to Bordeaux, Singh met France President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and later termed the meeting as "fruitful". During the talks, the two leaders comprehensively discussed key aspects of bilateral defense partnership and resolved to continue strengthening ties between the two countries. His French counterpart Florence Parly was also present during the handover ceremony. He was accompanied by Armed Forces personnel including Air Marshall Harjit Singh Arora.

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India had entered into an inter-governmental agreement with France and Dassault in September 2016 to acquire 36 Rafale jets in flyaway condition at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. While India will symbolically receive the aircraft at the plant on Tuesday, 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, for which the IAF has been reportedly undertaking preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots.

The first squadron of the Rafale aircraft will be stationed at the Ambala Air Force Station in Punjab, considered as a strategic air base given its proximity to the Indo-Pakistan border.

"In the defence sector, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is our longest standing export customer and has been flying Dassault aircraft since 1953. The acquisition contract for 36 Rafale - signed in 2016 - and the modernisation of the Mirage 2000 I/TI are a continuation of this historic partnership", Dassault Aviation said in a statement. With the induction of Rafale, the combat capability of the Air Force has increased.

A lot of allegations had been made of corruption in the Rafale deal between India and France, and questions were raised as to why an offsets contract was given to Anil Ambani, who had no experience in manufacturing aircraft.

"Nearly 60 French companies are already established in India. and in the future more companies will come", said Parly, the French defence minister.

Rajnath Singh invited the defence industry leaders to participate in the "Make In India" initiative.

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