In a ceremony organized to formally hand over the first aircraft in a series of 36 Rafale fighter jets purchased from France, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday that France-made Rafale fighter aircraft Will further strengthen the Indian Air Force.
Singh also discussed strong strategic relations between India and France during his meaningful meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
Subsequently, Singh along with his French counterpart Florence Parle attended the ceremony to hand over the Rafale fighter aircraft at Meriniac, southwest of France. The ceremony was held at the establishment of Rafale aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation.
Just before flying in the Rafale fighter aircraft, Singh performed weapon worship on the new aircraft and applied ‘Om’ tilak on it and offered flowers and a coconut. He was accompanied by senior representatives of the Indian Armed Forces.
Just before flying in Rafale, he said, “It is a great honor to fly in this new fighter aircraft”. Singh noted that on September 19, he flew in Tejas, a home-built light fighter aircraft from HAL Airport, Bengaluru. He is the first Defense Minister to fly in it.
Singh told the attendees, “Our Air Force is the fourth largest Air Force in the world and I believe that Rafale Multi Role Combat Aircraft will further strengthen the Indian Air Force and ensure peace and security in the region by increasing our air capacity.
He said, “I am told that the French word Rafael” means “typhoon”. I am confident that the aircraft will make its name meaningful.”
‘RB001’ Rafale was also unveiled before the Defense Minister.
At the same time, Singh said in Paris in the context of the annual Indo-French Defense Dialogue, “Today a new milestone has been established in the field of Indo-France strategic partnership and bilateral defense cooperation has reached a new stage.
He said, “It is a historic day for the Indian Armed Forces, which shows the depth of the strategic partnership between India and France.” Today is Vijayadashami and also the 87th Foundation Day of the Indian Air Force.”
Parley of Rafael said that this is the best thing France has offered to India to protect its sovereignty. It is also a French commitment to the Make in India initiative.
The French minister said, “It is no coincidence that the ceremony was held on the day of Dussehra and on the 87th Foundation Day of the Indian Air Force.” It shows our highest importance which we attach to our cooperation with India. “
He said, “This is just the first step in a long journey because we are committed to meeting the needs of the Indian Army.” This is a big day in the history of our industrial cooperation and will remain fully committed to the Make in India initiative. “
He said that this version of Rafale fighter jets is specially designed to meet the needs of the Indian Air Force.
Speaking on the occasion, Dassault Aviation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eric Trappier said, “The history of our relationship began with the ‘stormy’ handing over of the Indian Air Force in 1953 and since then we have continued commitment with this country. It Is supported by the French governments.
India had ordered purchase of 36 fighter aircraft from France in September 2016 under a deal of Rs 59,000 crore. The first batch of four fighter jets will arrive at the Air Force base in India in May 2020.
All 36 fighter jets are expected to reach India by September 2022.
Singh arrived in France on Monday to attend the official ceremony of handing over the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets purchased by the Indian Air Force.
During his meeting with the French President at The Élysée Palace, the official residence of president of France, Singh described France as “an important strategic partner” of India.
The Ministry of Defense called the meeting “very warm and meaningful”.
The meeting lasted for about 35 minutes. After this, a statement was issued by the Ministry. It said, “This meeting shows how deep the bilateral partnership between India and France is, especially in the defense sector and it has been significantly strengthened in recent years.” The two leaders resolved to take these relations to new heights. “
It said, “Singh thanked President Emmanuel Macron for further deepening the strategic partnership between the two countries and supporting the Make in India initiative.” “
He expressed condolences on behalf of the Government of India on the death of former French President Jacques Chirac.
Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar, who is in the Ministerial delegation to France, said, “We have a multi-dimensional relationship with France and the relationship is moving forward on all fronts.” Today’s talks are part of a wider defense discussion between the two countries. “
Singh is also scheduled to address the CEOs of leading French defense industry companies on Wednesday. Singh will invite him to participate in ‘DefenseExpo’ to be held in Lucknow in February next year.
Many users on social media including facebook and twitter made fun of Rajnath for worshiping the rafale with coconut and lemon which is a traditional method of worshiping any new vehicle purchase by Indians. Several Cartoons & Post were made on twitter and facebook making fun of this.