India receives first Rafale fighter jet from France (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Elias Hubbard
October 9, 2019

"I am sure that the jet will live up to its name", Rajnath Singh said.

French plane-maker Dassault in 2012 won a contract negotiated under a Congress-led government in 2012 to supply 126 jets to India, with some built-in France and the rest in India by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). He was handed over the first Indian aircraft, RB-001, by Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier. The date coincides with the birthday of the IAF and falls just after a Hindu religious festival for worshiping tools and weapons, which gave the Indian official a chance to perform a good luck ritual for the jet.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday that he had "fruitful deliberations" with his French counterpart during which they reviewed the full spectrum of the bilateral defence engagement and reaffirmed their strong commitment to further deepen cooperation to combat terrorism.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh accepted the handover at a facility of Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Bordeaux. You are going to France and performing puja, wasn't the Rafale jet coming to India?

France remains a major defense supplier for India.

Singh had kick-started his busy schedule with a meeting at Elysee Palace with President Emmanuel Macron for talks described as "warm and productive", as both leaders resolved to take the India-France relationship to a higher level.

Merignac (France), Oct 8 (IANS): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took off for a sortie in a Rafale fighter jet from Merignac here soon after receiving the first of the 36 jets in France on Tuesday.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge called the whole thing a drama and said that there was no need for the Defence Minister to perform "shastra puja".

The fighter jet was flown by the chief test pilot of Dassault Aviation Phillipe Duchateau.

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

The 2016 Rafale deal was an emergency purchase to arrest the worrying slide in the IAF's combat capabilities.

He also said that a large number of IAF officers and airmen are being trained in France for flying, maintenance support and logistics for handling Rafale and hoped the training will help them in acquiring knowledge and professional expertise required for performing their task in India. "Such achievements encourage us to do more and that will be on my agenda when I meet minister Parly today", Singh said, in reference to the annual Indo-French Defence Dialgoue scheduled for Tuesday evening. As per IGA, deliveries begin 36 months from signing of contract and will be completed in 67 months.

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. It is also the 87th Air Force Day.

The second squadron of Rafale will be stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal. As part of negotiations, India sought the inclusion of so-called offset clauses, which would require Dassault to reinvest proceeds from the sale in India. Dassault Reliance JV (DRAL) production facility in Nagpur has started functioning while Thales already has presence in Nagpur.

Singh had tweeted after his arrival in Paris on Monday that he was "delighted to be France".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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