On a historic visit to France , Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the French-made Rafale combat jet will boost India’s air dominance exponentially, as he was formally handed the delivery of the first of 36 such aircraft acquired by the Indian government at a ceremony in Bordeaux.
— ANI (@ANI) October 8, 2019
Singh attended the handover ceremony along with his French counterpart Florence Parly at aircraft maker Dassault Aviation facility in Merignac, southwestern France.
The minister performed a brief Shastra Puja on the new aircraft as he emblazoned it with an ‘Om’ tilak and laid flowers and a coconut, just before he was to take off in it for a sortie in the newly-acquired two-seater jet.
“It is indeed a great honour to be able to fly in this new fighter jet,” said 68-year-old Singh, just before take off.
On September 19, Singh flew in the Tejas fighter aircraft from the HAL airport in Bengaluru, becoming the first defence minister to fly in the indigenously-built light combat aircraft.
“Our air force is the fourth-largest in the world and I believe that the Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft will make us even stronger and will give a boost to India’s air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region,” Singh said, addressing the gathering in Hindi.
“I have been told that the French word Rafale means andhi in Hindi or gust of wind. I am sure that the aircraft will live up to its name,” he said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performs Shastra Puja after receiving first Rafale jet
— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) October 8, 2019