The much awaited Dassault Rafales have been finally inducted into the Air Force formally in a ceremony at Ambala Air Base bolstering India’s military might. Defence minister of India Rajnath Singh was present along with Florence Parly, Minister of Armed Forces of France.
Describing the moment as historic for the IAF, stating that the Aircraft is going to be a game changer for India in the present geopolitical scenario and a strong message to those who seek to challenge India’s sovereignty. He also stated the level of preparedness and the nations determination to oppose such challenges regarding national security. “The intentions of the military are as strong as it can be.”, he said. The minister reiterated India’s resolve towards non-provocative action and keeping the stability in the region and how it is also expected of our neighboring nations.
The Rafale deal is just one of the defence technology agreements among the two nations that has resulted in local manufacturing and subsequent induction of Scorpene class submarines with ToT(Transfer of Technology agreement) which are being made indigenously at Mazagaon Docks. The first sub of the class INS Kalvari was commissioned into the Navy in 2017, while three others have been launched. The two nations have also cooperated in maritime security in Indo-Pacific and Indian ocean region (IOR).
The Rafale deal, which incorporates 36 fully equipped aircraft, with upgraded AESA( Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar from Thales and engines from Safran, along with a full weapons suite, investment in India with partnership with local company to establish workshop for maintenance of aircraft for 20 years.
The delivery of the initial 5 planes was expedited after the Indo-China clash at Galwan valley on June 15. Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trapper was quoted as,”If the Indian Air Force would like to acquire more Rafale aircraft, we would be happy to oblige”, hinting towards further expedited deals between the two nations.
Minister of the Armed Forces of France, Florence Parly, who was also present for the ceremony, addressed those present about the induction and how it presented as a symbol of strong strategic relations between the two countries, and how the Rafale meant that India now has an edge over the entire region to protect its sovereignty, while assuring timely delivery of the remaining aircraft by Dassault.
The ceremony included a traditional ‘Sarva Dharma Puja’, which was followed by the the Rafales taking to the skies and displaying its aerial capabilities along with the indeginous HAL Tejas, being symbolic of how the aircraft of two nations will dominate the skies. A aerial acrobatic display by the Sarang aerobatic team and the water cannon salute to the Rafale followed. And the five Rafales were inducted into the resurrected 17th Squadron “Golden Arrows” stationed at Ambala, where the rest will also be inducted as they are delivered in the future.
The ceremony was attended by Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, Air Chief RKS Bhadauria and senior dignitaries from the French delegation who accompanies the French minister.
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