Published: Wed, October 09, 2019

India takes first delivery in controversial Rafale jet deal

India takes first delivery in controversial Rafale jet deal

The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006 and is said to have proven its worth in combat in war zones such as Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria.

This is not the first time that Singh is taking a sortie in a fighter aircraft.

In fact, the first Rafale built was RB-008 and it is on this aircraft that the 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISE) will be incorporated, tested and certified before they are incorporated on the remaining jets which will be done after all jets arrive in India.

"I have been told that the French word Rafale means andhi in Hindi or gust of wind".

After performing the puja, he flew a sortie in it.

The RB001 Rafale, denoting the initials of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria who played a key role in striking the deal for the jets in his previous role as IAF deputy chief, was unveiled with the Indian tricolour as its backdrop.

The handover ceremony will be followed by the annual Indo-French Defence Dialogue between Singh and French armed forces minister Parly back in Paris on Tuesday evening.

Rajnath Singh welcomed France as an "important strategic partner" of India during the meeting at Elysee Palace in the French capital of Paris. Today marks Vijayadashami the victory of good over evil as also the 87th Indian Air Force Day.

India chose October 8 for receiving the first Rafale jet not only because it is the occasion of Dussehra, but the day is also celebrated as Air Force Day every year.

Singh said the strong cooperation between India and France will continue to grow and contribute to global peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability. The BJP accused the Congress of opposing the modernisation of the Air Force and making fun of Indian customs and traditions. It is only the highly industrialised countries that can make their own weapons, while under-developed countries like India have to buy them from the former.

"This is just the first step of a long journey, as we are committed to meet all needs of the Indian Army".

Singh is also likely to invite them to the DefExpo to be held in Lucknow from February 5 to 8 next year.

French Navy Rafale fighter jets are seen aboard the upgraded "Charles de Gaulle" aircraft carrier off the coast of Toulon, France, November 14, 2018.

"The history of our relationship started in 1953 with delivery of Toofani for the Indian Air Force and since then we have had a continuous and unfailing commitment to this country, supported by successive French governments", said Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation. So, the Rafale we are getting from France will obviously not be the real Rafale.

In Bordeaux, Singh began with a tour of Dassault Aviation's final Rafale assembly line. He was accompanied by Armed Forces personnel including Air Marshall Harjit Singh Arora. Representatives of the top military brass from the French side were also present on the occasion. Though Rajnath Singh received the first Rafale jet in a symbolic ceremony on Tuesday, it will be seen in Indian skies only in May 2020 when the first four jets physically arrive in India.

The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base.

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