IAF will formally induct Rafale jets on September 10
More than a month after five Rafale jets landed in India, they will be formally inducted into Indian Air Force (IAF) on September 10 at Haryana's Ambala airbase in presence of Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, multiple reports said. In 2016, India inked a deal with France for 36 Rafale jets, spending over Rs. 59,000 crore. The first batch arrived on July 29. Here's more.
These jets are a part of IAF's 'Golden Arrows' squadron
On October 8, 2019, Singh had formally received the jet in France, where he also attended the Annual Defense Dialogue with his French counterpart Florence Parly. The five jets flown in are a part of the IAF 'Golden Arrows' squadron. Singh has repeatedly said that the new members of IAF would enhance India's military powers and "teach a lesson" to those eyeing our territory.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly to be invited: Reports
Though the jets were welcomed a month ago, their formal induction was pushed to a later date. According to reports, Parly will be invited. "The French Defense Minister is also being sent an invite to attend the event to mark the strategic friendship between India and France," sources told ANI. The ceremony will be held after Singh returns from his trip to Russia.
Rafales will enhance IAF's offensive capabilities
Having high-tech sensors, advanced weaponry, superior detection radar, and impressive payload-carrying abilities, the Rafale jets are bound to significantly enhance IAF's offensive capabilities. Tailored to suit IAF's needs, they would allow fighter pilots to attack ground and aerial targets from stand-off ranges. These jets are armed with the SCALP air-to-ground, MICA multi-mission air-to-air, and Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles.
IAF hasn't welcomed foreign jets in 23 years
The Rafale fighter jets are the first foreign jets to be inducted in IAF in 23 years. In 1997, Russian Sukhoi-30s entered IAF service. Notably, the jets were flown in from France to India, crossing nearly 8,500 kilometers. Group Captain Harkirat Singh, commanding officer and a decorated pilot, led the crew that flew them, at a time when Indo-China tensions were at a peak.
To recall, the Rafale deal has been marred in controversies
While India celebrated the arrival of the jets, it's worth mentioning that the Indo-France deal created a huge controversy with the Congress asking BJP-led NDA why more money was spent. Congress' Rahul Gandhi slammed BJP for letting Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence manufacture parts of Rafale. He also made it a general election issue but BJP responded more aggressively, and eventually won polls.
Rahul's questions didn't end even after jets arrived
Congratulations to IAF for Rafale.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 29, 2020
Meanwhile, can GOI answer:
1) Why each aircraft costs ₹1670 Crores instead of ₹526 Crores?
2) Why 36 aircraft were bought instead of 126?
3) Why was bankrupt Anil given a ₹30,000 Crores contract instead of HAL?