New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With a traditional "Sarva Dharma Puja", the first batch of the Rafale fighter jets on Thursday formally joined the Indian Air Force at the Ambala airbase in Haryana. The first batch of the Rafale jets, which India received from France on July 27, will be a part of the IAF’s 17 squadrons, the ‘Golden Arrows’.    

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, along with his French counterpart Florence Parly, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhaduria, attended the ceremony on Thursday. The French delegation also included French envoy Emmanuel Lenain, Air General Eric Autellet, Vice Chief of French Air Force, Chairman and Chief Executive of Dassault Aviation Eric Trappier, and CEO of missile maker MBDA Eric Beranger.

Following the induction, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that it represents the strong ties between India and France, adding that the strategic ties between the two countries have also strengthened.

"Rafale induction is a big and stern message for the entire world, especially to those eyeing our sovereignty. This induction is important considering the kind of atmosphere at our borders or should I say the kind of atmosphere created at our borders," news agency ANI quoted Rajnath as saying.

"In my recent foreign trip, I put the point of view of India in front of the world. I also made everyone aware of our resolve to not compromise our sovereignty and territorial integrity under any circumstances. We're committed to doing everything possible towards this," he added.

Meanwhile, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said that the induction of Rafales is a new chapter in India-France defence ties, adding that France supports India’s candidacy for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

"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 added. 

Here’s all you need to know about the Rafale fighter jets:

Rafale is a twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft that has been designed by Dassault Aviation. India under the Narendra Modi government had signed a deal with France to purchase 36 Rafale jets – 30 fighters and six trainers – for Rs 59,000 crore. 

The Rafale jets are capable of carrying a variety of weapons and missiles, including MBDA's Meteor beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missiles and Scalp cruise missiles.

India had received the first batch of Rafale jets on July 27 which were stationed at the Ambala airbase in Haryana and they were inducted in the IAF’s 17 squadrons, the ‘Golden Arrows’. The 17 Squadron of the IAF was resurrected in September 2019.

India will receive its second batch of Rafale fighter jets in November this year. The second squadron of the Rafale jets will be stationed at the Hasimara air base in West Bengal.    

The Rafale jets are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI jets were imported from Russia.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma