New Delhi, Jan 17: Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday flew in Indian fighter plane Sukhoi-30 MKI in a sortie. Her twitter handle shared the video of her taking off in the fighter jet sitting behind the pilot.Also Read - Swiggy, Zomato Will Now Pay GST on Restaurant Services Supplied Through Them, Says Sitharaman

Talking to reporters after the  45-minute flight, Sitharaman described the sortie as an “eye-opening” experience. “Very proud and thankful that I’ve gone through this experience because it actually tells me with what rigor, practice, what level of readiness and how quickly they (defence personnel) have to respond to situations. It was eye-opening and memorable,” Sitharaman said. Also Read - GST On Retro Fitment Kits For Vehicles Used By Disable People Cut to 5%: Sitharaman

Sitharaman, who is the first full-time female Defence Minister of India, took off aboard the two-seater twin-engine Sukhoi Su-30 MKI from an air base in Jodhpur. She is taking stock of the operational preparedness of the IAF. (Also Read: China Objects to Nirmala Sitharaman’s Visit to Arunachal Pradesh) Also Read - GST Council Extends Concessional Rates on Covid Medicines Till Dec 31; Keeps Petrol, Diesel Out of Tax Ambit

This is not the first time that she has taken first-hand stock of the preparedness of the Indian armed forces. The Defence Minister’s Sukhoi sortie is latest in her continued effort to gauge and review the operational preparedness and combat capabilities of the armed forces.  She had recently visited Nathu La border post in Sikkim. The video of Sitharaman interacting with a Chinese soldier and ‘teaching’ him namaste had gone viral.  Earlier this month, the defence minister reviewed the naval preparedness as she went aboard INS Kolkata and INS Vikramaditya.

All About Sukhoi Fighter Jet

Sukhoi Su-30 MKI is the advanced version of the Russian Sukhoi Su-30. It is an aircraft which can carry nuclear payload. With its range, it can penetrate deep in enemy territory. It is a twin-jet multirole air superiority fighter developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). A variant of the Sukhoi Su-30, it is a heavy, all-weather, long-range fighter.