New Delhi: Soon after India received its first batch of new multirole combat fighter Rafale jets at Ambala airbase, Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the jets with a Sanskrit tweet. Taking to Twitter, PM Modi posted a video of the Rafale making a landing. Also Read - With High Security, COVID Guidelines in Place, Ayodhya All Set For Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan Today
Union Home Minister Amit Shah termed the landing of Rafale jets ‘historic’ event and said it is a proud moment for the country.
“Rafale touchdown is a historic day for our vigorous @IAF_MCC and a proud moment for India! These are the world’s most powerful machines capable to thwart any challenge in the sky. I am sure Rafale will help our Air warriors to safeguard our skies with its mighty superiority,” he said.
He said the induction of these next generation aircraft is a true testimony of PM Modi’s resolve to make India a powerful and secure nation. “Modi government is committed to build on India’s defence capabilities. I thank honourable PM for providing this unprecedented strength to our IAF,” he added.
The first batch of 5 Rafale jets landed at Ambala airbase today after covering a distance of 7,000 km from the Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux.
Having an undisputed track record and considered one of the most potent combat jets globally, these aircraft are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons.
“The Birds have landed safely in Ambala,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, adding if anyone should be worried about the Indian Air Force’s new capability, it should be those who want to threaten “our territorial integrity”. The comment is seen as a veiled message to China.
The Rafales were escorted by two Sukhoi 30 MKIs after they entered the Indian air space and were given a water salute when they landed at Ambala.
The NDA government had inked a Rs 59,000-crore deal on September 23, 2016 to procure 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation after a nearly seven-year exercise to procure 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force did not fructify during the UPA regime.
The fleet, comprising three single seater and two twin seater aircraft, are being inducted into the IAF as part of its Ambala-based No 17 Squadron, also known as the ‘Golden Arrows’.
The first Rafale jet was handed over to the IAF in October last year during a visit to France by the defence minister.