The Minister for Defence Rajnath Singh on October 7, stated that everybody is “excited” about the event set to take place on, Tuesday, October 8. The Defence Minister was referring to the event in which the Rafale aircraft will be officially inducted into the Indian Air Force. The Defence Minister stated that "naturally, everyone is excited about Rafale coming to India and Rafale will be handed over tomorrow, you too should witness the ceremony."
Commenting on his visit to France on a three-day visit, Rajnath Singh said he is looking forward to deepening ties with the country.
Leaving New Delhi for Paris on a three day visit to France. Shall attend the Annual Defence Dialogue and the Induction Ceremony of Rafale.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) October 7, 2019
India-France bilateral relations have made tremendous progress in the recent years. Looking forward to further and deepen these ties.
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.
Bonjour Paris!— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) October 7, 2019
Delighted to be in France. This great nation is India’s important strategic partner and our special relationship goes far beyond the realm of formal ties.
My visit to France is aimed at expanding the existing strategic partnership between both the countries.
The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. The manufacturers describe it as a fully versatile aircraft that can carry out all combat aviation missions to achieve air superiority and air defence, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes, and nuclear deterrence. The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004. The Rafale jets intended for India are expected to come with certain bespoke modifications for the IAF and have been awaited as a crucial enhancement to India's Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft fleet.
The first Rafale jet will come with tail number RB 001, with RB 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. On Wednesday, the Minister is scheduled to address CEOs representing leading French defence industry enterprises. As part of a wider 'Make in India' message, Singh will invite them to participate in the DefExpo to be held in Lucknow from February 5 to 8 next year.