Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa are set to travel to Paris next month to receive the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets for the Indian Air Force, government sources said .
They said top military brass of France as well as senior officials of the Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, will also be present at the handing over ceremony which is likely to be held on September 20.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving for France on Thursday on a bilateral visit during which further boosting of defence cooperation between the two countries will be discussed.
Sources said a high-level team of the Indian Air Force is already in Paris to coordinate with the French officials on the handing over ceremony.
India had inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore. The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons and missiles. The IAF has already completed preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots, to welcome the fighter aircraft.
The sources said the first squadron of the aircraft will be deployed at Ambala air force station, considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF. The Indo-Pak border is around 220 km from there.