Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will continue the tradition of performing 'Shastra Pooja' this year in France where he is likely to fly a sortie in India's first Rafale aircraft. Shastra Pooja (worship of weapons) is an old Hindu tradition where warriors perform pooja of their arms and weapons.
"During his days as Home Minister, Rajnath Singh would perform Shastra pooja every Dushehra. Now as a defense Minister also, he would continue the tradition," Defence officials close to Rajnath Singh said.
The Defence Minister is also supposed to meet French President Emanuel Macron on his trip to France and then proceed to Bordeaux for receiving the first Rafale aircraft made for India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his days as Chief Minister also used to perform Shastra pooja on every Dushehra of both ancient and modern arms.
Rajnath Singh will reach France on October 8, which is also Air Force Day and Dussehra. Reportedly, on the same day, he will receive the plane in Merignac near Bordeaux. On October 9, he will move to Paris with a team of senior defense.
As per sources, the Defense Minister will officially receive the fighter jet from France and is likely to fly in it after it is officially inducted in the Indian Air Force. News agency ANI, quoting IAF sources, said that a French pilot will fly in the front cockpit, while Rajnath Singh will sit in the rear cockpit. Rafale is manufactured by the French manufacturing company, Dassault Aviation. The Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa was expected to receive the aircraft from France on September 19-20. Sources indicate that the pilots might fly the aircraft once the Defence Minister reached the location near Bordeaux
Defence Minister had recently flown in the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas in Bengaluru. It was a crucial 30-minute sortie that served a significant acknowledgment to officers who have been involved in the development of the indigenously-made Tejas.It was a four-and-half generation light combat aircraft developed by the state-run aerospace company.
(With Inputs from ANI)