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Defence Minister Rajnath arrives in Merignac to receive first Rafale combat aircraft for IAF

ANI  |  Politics 

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has arrived at Merignac to receive the first Rafale combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Singh travelled in a French military aircraft from Paris to Merignac, to reach for the handover ceremony. He had boarded the French military aircraft from Velizy - Villacoublay Air Base.

At Merignac, a suburb of the south-western French town of Bordeaux, the Defence Minister will receive the first Rafale fighter jet bearing the tail number RB-01, which is the initial of new Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria who played a crucial role in the signing of the biggest ever defence deal of India worth above Rs 60,000 crore for 36 fighter planes.

The Rafale jet handover ceremony is scheduled to take place at 4.45 p.m.

Currently, on a three-day visit to France, the Union Defence Minister also met French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday for discussions on a wide range of issues.

On his arrival in Paris, Singh tweeted, "Bonjour Paris! Delighted to be in France. This great nation is India's important strategic partner and our special relationship goes far beyond the realm of formal ties. My visit to France is aimed at expanding the existing strategic partnership between both countries."

The Rafale jet handover ceremony coincides with the foundation day of the Indian Air Force as well as the day when Dussehra is celebrated.

Singh will also perform the 'Shastrapuja' on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami and fly a sortie in the Rafale fighter jet at 7 pm.

"As per plans, a French pilot will fly in the front cockpit while Singh will sit in the rear cockpit. The first Indian Rafale fighter jet with tail no RB-01 will be used for the sortie," sources in IAF said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, October 08 2019. 16:27 IST