Defense minister Rajnath Singh will meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on October 8 to receive the first aircraft out of 36 in the French port city of Bordeaux. Shastri puja will also be performed on the occasion of Dusshera.
“This great nation is India’s integral strategic partner and our special relationship goes far beyond the realm of formal ties”, said Rajnath Singh.
After his meeting with Macron at Elysee Palace in French Capital, Singh will be flown to Merignac, a place in the western part of Bordeaux. The ceremony for acquiring first Rafael jet will take place over there.
The ceremony coincides with the foundation day of IAF as well as with Dusshera. Arrangements have been made at the airbase for ‘Shastra Puja’ or weapons’ worship which is an integral part of Dusshera celebrations.
Members of top military brass of France as well as senior officials of Dassault Aviation- the manufacturers of Rafale will also be present at the ceremony.
India had signed a deal of buying 36 Rafale jets worth Rs. 59,000 crore in September 2016. The first aircraft would be handed over today, while the first batch of four Rafale aircraft will be at their home base by May 2020. All 36 jets will arrive by September 2022, for which preparations have been commenced. These preparations include building the infrastructure and training of pilots.
More about the aircraft
The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and shore base. The makers of the aircraft describe it as a versatile aircraft that can carry out all combat aviation missions to achieve air superiority and defense, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes, and nuclear deterrence.
Rafale has been serving the French Navy since 2004. The Jet that is intended to come to India has undergone certain modifications. The aircraft has been awaited as a crucial enhancement to India’s Medium Multi-role Combat aircraft fleet.
The first aircraft will have a tail number of RB 001. Initials RB denote the name of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria who played an integral part in signing the deal for the jets in his previous role as Deputy chief.
After the ceremony, Rajnath Singh will meet the French Armed Forces minister Florence Party for annual Indo-French defense dialogue.
On October 9, the minister is scheduled to address CEOs of leading French defense industry enterprises. As a part of wider ‘Make in India ‘ message, Singh will extend an invitation to the industrialists to participate in DefExpo.