Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Rafale Puja: Rafale will save India, Puja will protect Rafale Jets

Rafale at Aero India 2017 Indian Defence Minister Leaves for France to Receive First Batch of Rafale JetsCC BY-SA 4.0 Aksveer Rafale at Aero India 2017
Patty Aguilar | 09 October, 2019, 21:25

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performed "Shastra Pooja" on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami at the Dassault assembly line facility in Mérignac during the handover ceremony of first Rafale to India.

Rajnath is on a three-day visit to France where he received the first Rafale combat aircraft in Merignac from a facility of Dassault Aviation earlier on Tuesday in the presence of the firm's CEO Eric Trappier and French Defence Minister Florence Parly. The handover was followed by Shastra Puja - the traditional worship of weapons during Dussehra.

Singh, who changed into combat flight gear for the sortie after Puja, said the aircraft will enhance the Indian Air Force combat capability massively - intended only for self-defence.

"These aircraft, which are on course to be delivered on scheduled as per the agreement signed in September 2016, have been created to meet the highly demanding needs of the Indian Air Force, which operates in a very sensitive geopolitical environment", he said. Singh's sortie was flown by a French pilot.

India purchased the French aircraft as part of New Delhi's effort to diversify its fleet.

"I am told that Rafale is a French word meaning gust of wind".

Also accompanying Rajnath, Defence secretary Ajay Kumar, assured the company of support and asked them to prepare a document highlighting any "pain points" they foresee in their expansion agenda, which will be taken into consideration.

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The first Rafale jet comes with tail number RB 001, with RB denoting the initials of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria who played a key role in striking the deal for the jets in his previous role as IAF deputy chief. "Today is a milestone day for Indio-France strategic partnership and a new high in bilateral defence co-operation", he said.

"Nearly 60 French companies are already established in India. and in the future more companies will come", said Parly, the French defence minister.

"Our airforce is the fourth largest in the world and I believe that the Rafale medium multi-roll Combat aircraft will make us even stronger and give a boost to India's air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region", Singh said. "They have also developed the engine for Rafale", Rajnath Singh said in a tweet.

The ceremony coincided with the foundation ceremony of the IAF.

"In the defence sector, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is our longest standing export customer and has been flying Dassault aircraft since 1953".

Singh responded by assuring him that India was committed to providing the "right climate" for investments under the "Make in India" initiative.

French plane-maker Dassault in 2012 won a contract negotiated under a Congress-led government in 2012 to supply 126 jets to India, with some built-in France and the rest in India by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). After performing puja, he will take a sortie in the aircraft, officials said. So, the Rafale we are getting from France will obviously not be the real Rafale. After his talks with Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Singh flew to Merignac, a suburb of the south-western French town of Bordeaux, where he will participate in the official handover ceremony for the first Rafale combat jet acquired by the Indian Air Force (IAF). He was accompanied by Armed Forces personnel including Air Marshall Harjit Singh Arora.

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