Defence News India: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will receive the multi-role fighter-bomber Rafale fighter aircraft in Paris, France on Tuesday. He will also perform a worship on the occasion of Vijaya Dashmi (Dussehra) festival before bringing the first Rafale aircraft manufactured by Dassault Aviation to India. India and France have signed a government to government purchase agreement in September 2016 for acquiring 36 Rafale fighter jets to meet urgent operational needs of Indian Air Force.
Under the deal valued at €7.8 billion, the first Rafale aircraft was to be delivered in September this year, however, the delivery date of the first aircraft has been shifted to October 8, the day when Indian Air Force celebrates it’s raising day – Indian Air Force Day.
Rajnath Singh to perform Shastra Puja in France
This is also important as India’s festival of celebrating the victory of Lord Ram over demon king Ravan also falls on October 8. The victory of Lord Ram over demon king Ravan is celebrated in India as victory of good over evil and this festival is celebrated as Vijaya Dashmi or Dussehra.
Ancient Indians worshiped their weapons and arms on the occasion of Vijaya Dashmi as a symbol of victory of good over evil. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will also perform a Shashtra Puja (Worship of Arms and Ammunition) of Rafale Fighter Jet before receiving the aircraft.
India-France Annual Defence Dialogue
Defence minister Rajnath Singh will also hold annual defence dialogue with his french counterpart, Ms Florence Parly, minister of armed forces in Paris. He will also take a sortie in the Rafale fighter aircraft before bringing it to India.
“Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh will participate in the Rafale fighter aircraft handing over ceremony at Merignac along with French Minister of Armed Forces Ms Florence Parly. He will also perform the Shastra Puja on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami and fly a sortie in the Rafale fighter aircraft,” defence ministry said in a statement.
Recently Rajnath Singh became the first Indian defence minister to fly in indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.
Rajnath Singh will also call on French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday morning.
India and France have close defence ties and cooperate on several issues, including terrorism and climate change on multi-lateral forums.
Defence Expo 2019
Defence minister Rajnath Singh will also hold talks with CEOs and top management of French defence industry. He will also invite them to participate in this year’s Defence Expo organised in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
This visit is also important as participation of foreign defence firms is key for success of the Union government’s plans to develop a defence industrial corridor in Uttar Pradesh.