Defence Minister Rajnath Singh concluded his France visit and arrived in the national capital on Thursday night. Singh said that India will receive seven Rafale fighter jets by April or May 2020. Singh was in France to officially receive the first Rafale jet. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also undertook a sortie of around 35 minutes in the latest addition to India's aerial assets.
"Seven Rafale jets will arrive in India by April or May. The aircraft is capable of reaching up to the speed of 1800 kmph. I flew in a Rafale jet at the speed of 1300 kmph. The credit for the successful acquisition of the jets goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Singh said while addressing reporters.
Singh said that his visit to France was a success and that the meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron went on for about 35 minutes. He also said that the outcome of the meeting will eventually result in better strategic and defence ties.
Thank you France! Merci!— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) October 10, 2019
This visit has been extremely productive.
The outcomes of this visit will further strengthen the defence cooperation between India and France. My gratitude to President @EmmanuelMacron, Minister @florence_parly & the Govt of France for their hospitality.
Rajnath Singh also slammed the Congress who heavily criticized the Shastra Pooja he performed.
"People can say whatever they want. I did what I thought was right and I will continue to do so. This is our faith, that there is a superpower and I have believed it since childhood."
"People from all religions have the right to pray according to their beliefs. I would not have objected if someone else had done the same. I feel there must have been a difference of opinion over the issue in Congress as well, it would not have been everybody's opinion," he said.
However, Rajnath Singh also said that India's procurement of the Rafale fighter jets was not to provoke any state. He added that it was solely done to strengthen the combat capabilities of the Indian Air Force.
"After induction of Rafale fighter aircraft, the combat capability of the Indian Air Force will increase. We don't want to intimidate anyone by doing so. We will neither fear anyone nor will we intimidate," the Defence Minister said.
Meanwhile, some IAF officers are undergoing training in France to operate the new aircraft. Singh also said that the whole controversy over the Rafale deal was unnecessary.
"Baseless accusations were levelled against the Prime Minister over the Rafale deal and strong language was used against him. I think the people of the country have given a befitting response to that."
(With ANI Inputs)