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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

A historic day, says Rajnath Singh as he receives first Rafale jet in France

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Rafale, a French word, translated to “a gust of wind” in Hindi and expressed confidence that it would live up to its name and make the Indian Air Force even stronger.

india Updated: Oct 08, 2019 21:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh talks with Dassault Aviation chief pilot Philippe Duchateau before a test flight in a Rafale jet fighter at the Dassault Aviation plant in Merignac, near Bordeaux, southwestern France.
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh talks with Dassault Aviation chief pilot Philippe Duchateau before a test flight in a Rafale jet fighter at the Dassault Aviation plant in Merignac, near Bordeaux, southwestern France.(Photo: AP)
         

At a ceremony against the backdrop of the fighter jet, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday formally received the first Indian Air Force Rafale fighter jet at Dassault Aviation’s Mérignac facility in southwestern France.

“It is a historic day,’’ Rajnath Singh said in his brief remarks before the formal acceptance of the aircraft. The defence minister described the Rs 59,000 crore fighter jet deal as a “new milestone” in the strategic partnership between the two countries and a “new high” in defence cooperation.

The minister told the audience that Rafale, a French word, translated to “a gust of wind” in Hindi and expressed confidence that it would live up to its name and make the Indian Air Force even stronger.

Watch l Rafale jets will make Indian Air Force stronger: Rajnath Singh

 

Rajnath Singh will fly in a two-seater Rafale fighter jet soon after.

“I look forward to flying in a Rafale… it will be a great honour and experience,” Singh said, thanking Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces of France, for the gesture.

The ceremony to receive the first of the 36 fighter jets bought for the Indian Air Force is essentially a symbolic one, timed to coincide with Dusherra and the 87th India Air Force Day.

Singh hoped that Dassault Aviation would be able to stick to the timelines for the delivery of the remaining 35 fighter jets between May 2020 - when the first Rafale jet will land in India - and its 2022 deadline.