India gets first Rafale fighter jet from France, Rajnath says historic day

India formally received the first Rafale fighter jet from the Dassault Aviation in France on Tuesday.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh accepted the handover at a facility of Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Bordeaux.

“It is a historic day and shows deepening ties between India and France,” Singh said in his brief remarks before the formal acceptance of the aircraft.

The defence minister described the Rs 59,000 crore fighter jet deal as a “new milestone” in the strategic partnership between the two countries and a “new high” in defence cooperation.

Singh said: “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 Singh also took off for a sortie in a two-seater Rafale fighter jet soon after.

The ceremony to receive the first of the 36 fighter jets bought for the Indian Air Force is essentially a symbolic one, timed to coincide with Dusherra and the 87th India Air Force Day.

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