Ahead of Rafale induction into the Indian Air Force, Minister for Defence Rajnath Singh met his French counterpart Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly and Admiral Bernard Rogel who is Defence Advisor to the French President Emmanuel Macron. The meeting took place at the Élysée Palace in Paris on Tuesday.
Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh has reached the Elysée Palace to call on the President of France @EmmanuelMacron.— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) October 8, 2019
He is meeting the Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms Florence Parly and the Defence Advisor to the French President, Admiral Bernard Rogel. pic.twitter.com/pBK4oIA74l
During his visit, he will receive the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets manufactured for India. On October 8, the Defence Minister is scheduled to meet the French President Emmanuel Macron. India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. While the formal handover ceremony takes place this week, the first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India by May 2020. All 36 jets are expected to arrive in India by September 2022, for which the IAF has been reportedly undertaking preparations, including readying the required infrastructure and training of pilots. The handover ceremony will be followed by the annual Indo-French Defence Dialogue between Singh and French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly back in Paris on Tuesday evening.
After his talks with Macron at the Elysee Palace in the French capital, Singh will be flown to Merignac, a suburb of the south-western French town of Bordeaux, where he will participate in the official handover ceremony for the first Rafale combat jet acquired by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The ceremony coincides with the foundation day of the Indian Air Force as well as the day when Dussehra will be celebrated. Arrangements have been made at the airbase for a traditional 'Shastra Puja', or weapons' worship which forms part of Dussehra celebrations. After performing puja, Singh will take a sortie in a two-seater trainer version of the aircraft.