"Jet, set, go": IAF inducts Rafale jets in Rajnath's presence
Five Rafale jets were inducted into the Indian Air Force's fleet on Thursday at the Ambala Air Base in the presence of Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly, weeks after they arrived in India from the European nation. The new jets will be part of IAF's Golden Arrows squadron. Meanwhile, the second batch is expected to arrive in November.
India and France signed deal for 36 Rafale jets
To recall, India signed a deal with France for three dozen Rafale jets for Rs. 59,000 crore. The deal was signed in 2016 and in October last year, Singh flew down to France to formally receive the jet. While IAF rejoiced after the deal was inked, a political row was also sparked with Congress levying corruption charges on the ruling BJP.
'Sarva Dharma Puja' happened at the ceremony
Notably, the program at Ambala, held under the shadow of coronavirus pandemic, started with the ceremonial unveiling of the Rafale jets. A Sarva Dharma Puja was also held, followed by an air display. IAF's new members were given a water salute as well. At the ceremony, indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas also performed. SU-30 and Jaguar jets flanked Rafale jets during the air display.
How will Rafales improve IAF's arsenal?
The fourth-generation flying machines are tailored for IAF, which hasn't welcomed a single foreign jet in 23 years. The jets have high-tech sensors, advanced weaponry, superior detection radar, and impressive payload-carrying abilities. These jets would allow fighter pilots to attack ground and aerial targets from stand-off ranges. Moreover, they are also armed with SCALP air-to-ground, MICA multi-mission air-to-air, and Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles.
Here is a video from the induction ceremony
Rafale induction message for the entire world: Defense Minister Singh
At the event, Singh said the induction of Rafale assumes significance considering the prevailing situation at borders. The Union Minister was referring to tensions with China along LAC, which have been simmering since April-May and have shown little signs of ending even after months. "Rafale induction is a big and stern message for the entire world, especially to those eyeing our sovereignty," he added.
He also appreciated IAF's swift action near LAC
"I would like to congratulate our colleagues of the Indian Air Force today. During the recent unfortunate incident at the border, the swift and deliberate action taken by Indian Air Force near LAC shows your commitment," Singh said.
Group Captain Harkeerat Singh was presented with induction scroll
Ambala: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh presents induction scroll of Rafale fighter jets to Group Captain Harkeerat Singh, Commanding Officer, 17 Squadron 'Golden Arrows' of the Indian Air Force pic.twitter.com/Vb19HhyPqt— ANI (@ANI) September 10, 2020
Meanwhile, Parly said France supports India's bid at UNSC
Parly also spoke at the occasion saying that France is committed to encouraging the "Make in India" movement. "We are fully committed to 'Make in India' initiative, as well as, to the further integration of the Indian manufacturers in our global supply chain," she said. The minister also announced that France supports India's bid of becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.