Union Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh, who is on a three-day visit to France, at the formal handover ceremony of Rafale aircraft said that Rafale Aircrafts will surely add strength to the Indian Air Force (IAF). In his address, the Defence Minister spoke about the strategic relationship between India and France and also paid tribute to former France President Jacques Chirac. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also formally received the first Rafale Aircraft and is expected to fly a sortie in it later today.
Rajnath Singh in his address expressed his happiness over the timely delivery of Rafale and said that, "I am happy that the delivery of the Rafale aircraft is on schedule. Rafale will add to the strength of our Air Force." He also spoke about the delivery of remaining Rafale aircraft and said that the French Government will hopefully ensure the timely delivery of related equipment and weapon systems as well. "Our focus is to equip our airforce and enhance its capabilities. Excellency Minister, we are sure that the delivery timelines will be met by the French side for all the 36 Rafale aircrafts and all the related equipment and weapon systems," the Defence Minister added.
Singh also spoke about strengthening the bilateral ties between France and India and that Rafale was significant to deepen the ties. He also hoped that the relationship between both countries will grow and contribute to global prosperity. "I am thankful Excellence Minister Parley for the French support not only defence matters but also on other issues which are important for India. I hope that the strong co-operation between two important and large democracies, will continue to grow and contribute to global peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability," Singh said.
India received the first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets at the Dassault Aviation facility in Mérignac. It was officially handed over to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday. This has given a big boost to India’s defence capability. Currently, India has fighter jets such as Sukhoi Su-30MKI, MiG 29, Mirage-2000 and the indigenously built Tejas. However, the Rafale will be the most capable fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF).