Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris today and receive the first of the 36 Rafale aircraft in the French port city of Bordeaux. He will also perform Shastra Puja on the occasion of Dussehra and take a sortie in the fighter jet.
Mr Singh tweeted after his arrival in Paris yesterday that France is India’s important strategic partner and the special relationship goes far beyond the realm of formal ties. His visit to France is aimed at expanding the existing strategic partnership between both the countries.
After his talks with President Macron at the Elysee Palace in the French capital, Mr Singh will be flown 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. The ceremony coincides with the foundation day of the Indian Air Force as well as the Vijaya Dashami Day when Dussehra is celebrated.
India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a deal worth 59,000 crore rupees in September 2016. While the formal handover ceremony takes place this week, the first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India by May 2020. All 36 jets are expected to arrive in India by September 2022.