There has a long discussion over Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France.
The discussion has even dragged in the erstwhile Congress Government into a heated discussion many times, which the country watched.
Controversies aside! Finally, the Modi-led BJP Government seized this opportunity to get the first Rafale fighter jet.
France’s Dassault Aviation handed over the first Rafale fighter jet, built for the Indian Air Force, to Defense Minister Rajnath Singh in France on October 08, 2019.
“I am told that Rafale is a French word meaning gust of wind. I am sure the aircraft will live up to its name. I believe Rafale will boost India’s air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region,” Rajnath said at the handover ceremony.
Marking the occasion of Vijaya Dashami festival, Rajnath performed Shastra Puja to the fighter jet and also took a flight on it.
“By February 2021 we will receive 18 Rafales and by April 2022 we will get all the 36 Rafales,” Rajnath informed.
The first batch of Rafale jets are set to arrive in India in May 2020.
Under the terms of contract, three IAF pilots and two technical officers have already received training on Rafales. Further, three new batches including IAF pilots, engineers and technicians will also undergo training till May 2020.
The two countries have signed the EUR 7.87 billion contract for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in September 2016 after a surprise announcement by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015 citing ‘operational necessity’.