The Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Rafale, a French word, translated to “a gust of wind” in Hindi it means confidence that it would remain up to its title and make the Indian Air Force even more powerful.
He stated that 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.
Rajnath Singh flies in a two-seater Rafale fighter jet soon after, “I look forward to flying in a Rafale… it will be a great honour and experience,” Singh said, thanking Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces of France, for the gesture.
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.
Singh hoped that Dassault Aviation would be able to stick to the timelines for the delivery of the remaining 35 fighter jets between May 2020 - when the first Rafale jet will land in India - and it's 2022 deadline.