In a historic event, India has officially received the first Rafale combat jet in Bordeaux, France, as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was handed over the fighter jet by Dassault Aviation on Tuesday, October 8.
The Defence Minister took a tour of the manufacturing plant of Dassault Aviation in Merignac before the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first Rafale jet. A traditional Shastra Puja was also performed as a part of Dussehra celebrations before the handover.
The traditional coconut breaking was also performed before the new aircraft. Following the Shastra Puja, Singh will fly a sortie in the Rafale jet. The ceremony was witnessed by the top officials of the French military and senior officials of Dassault aviation were also present.
"I am happy that the delivery of Rafale aircraft is on schedule, I am confident that this will add further strength to our Air Force. I wish cooperation between our two major democracies further increases in all sectors," said Rajnath Singh.
"It is also the 87th Air Force Day, therefore the day becomes symbolic in so many ways," he added.
As a part of the Rs 59,000 crore deal made in September 2016 for 36 Rafale twin-jet fighter jets, the first batch of four jets are expected to arrive in India on May 2020. And the rest combat jets will be delivered by September 2022.