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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

Ahead of first Rafale jet delivery, Rajnath Singh to perform ‘shastra pooja’ in Paris

The Minister will be meeting French President Emanuel Macron and then proceed to Bordeaux for receiving the first Rafale aircraft made for India.

india Updated: Oct 06, 2019 17:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
During his days as Home Minister, Rajnath Singh would perform Shastra pooja every Dussehra. (ANI photo)
During his days as Home Minister, Rajnath Singh would perform Shastra pooja every Dussehra. (ANI photo)
         

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is set to fly to France to receive the first batch of Rafale jets, will perform the ‘shastra pooja (worship of weapons)’ in Paris.

The day also coincides with Dussehra celebrations in India.

According to Hindu tradition, warriors perform pooja of their arms and weapons.

“During his days as Home Minister, Rajnath Singh would perform Shastra pooja every Dussehra. Now as a defence Minister also, he would continue the tradition,” Defence officials close to Rajnath Singh said.

The Minister will be meeting French President Emanuel Macron and then proceed to Bordeaux for receiving the first Rafale aircraft made for India.

Also Watch: Rajnath Singh becomes first defence minister to fly in Tejas

Top military brass of France as well as senior officials of Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, will also be present at the handing over ceremony.

India ordered 36 Rafale jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. While the formal induction will happen on October 8, the first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India only next April-May. All 36 fighter planes will arrive by September 2022, a small step on the long road towards building a stronger air force.

The IAF has already completed preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots, to welcome the fighter aircraft.

The two Rafale squadrons will be based at Ambala in Haryana and Hasimara in West Bengal, covering the western and eastern fronts. The Rafale will be the first imported fighter jet to be inducted into the IAF in 22 years after the Russian Sukhoi-30 fighters. The first Su-30 entered IAF service in June 1997.

The Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others.

The Congress raised several questions about the deal, including on rates of the aircraft, and alleged corruption but the government has rejected the charges.