The first batch of five French- made Rafale combat jets have been officially inducted into Indian Air Force’s 17 Squadron “Golden Arrows” on Thursday. The induction ceremony took place at Air Force Station in Ambala. The fighter jets had arrived earlier on July 29 at the Air Force Station, four years after India locked the deal with France to buy 36 jets.
The induction ceremony was attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, French Defence Minister Florence Parly, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria. The ceremony consisted of unleashing the aircrafts, traditional ‘Sarva Dharma Puja’, Air Display given by Rafale and Tejas aircrafts and also includes ‘Sarang Aerobatic Team’ followed by the classic- conventional water cannon salute for the Rafale jets.
Rajnath Singh addressed the ceremony, emphasizing on the importance of the induction of the fighter jets given the tension at the country’s borders. “The induction of Rafale into IAF also represents the strong ties between India and France. Thestrategic ties between our two countries have also strengthened.” Singh said.
Post the ceremony, Rajnath Singh and Florence Parly had a further meeting. Speaking of which, he tweeted, “Had fruitful discussions with the French Defence Minister, Ms @florence_parly today. We have decided to continue working on identified industrial areas and issues of military to military cooperation. I have invited French manufacturers to invest in India’s defence corridors.”
Ten Rafale fighter jets have been delivered to India and five have been held back in France in order to provide training for IAF pilots. The delivery of all the 36 jets will be completed by the end of 2021.