A day after the first batch of five Rafale aircraft landed in Ambala, Union Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan on Thursday said he spoke to Wing Commander Vivek Vikram's parents. The Minister took to Twitter said that Wing Commander Vikram's father said that his family and people fo Ettumanoor, Kottayam are over-joyed and proud of their son.
Spoke to Wing Commander Vivek Vikram's parents a day after he brought the first set of #Rafale fighter jets to India from France. His proud father Vikraman Nair says his family & the people of Ettumanoor, Kottayam are over-joyed & proud of their son. @narendramodi @rajnathsingh pic.twitter.com/X0oxsUdkxv— V Muraleedharan (@VMBJP) July 30, 2020
The aircraft, having an undisputed track record and considered one of the most potent combat jets globally, landed at the Ambala Air Force base at around 3:10 PM to a rousing reception, nearly four years after India inked an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 Rafales.
The five Rafale were flown by pilots of the 17 Golden Arrows led by Commanding Officer Group Captain Harkirat Singh along with other pilots, Wing Commanders MK Singh, R Kataria, Sidhu and Arun.
Each jet was given a special water cannon salute at the strategically-located airbase in the presence of top brass of the Indian Air Force including Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria who had played a key role as lead negotiator in the procurement of the jets.
Welcoming the arrival of the jets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet in Sanskrit, said there is no virtue like protecting the nation and there is no vow like defence of the nation.
"The Birds have landed safely in Ambala," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted as soon as the aircraft touched down here. At the same time, he used the occasion to send a veiled warning to China.
"I would like to add, if it is anyone who should be worried about or critical about this new capability of the Indian Air Force, it should be those who want to threaten our territorial integrity," the Defence Minister said.
The Touchdown of Rafale at Ambala. pic.twitter.com/e3OFQa1bZY— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 29, 2020
Singh said that "the touch down of Rafale combat aircraft in India marks the beginning of a new era in our military history. These multirole aircraft will revolutionise the capabilities of the IAF".
(With agency inputs)