New Delhi:Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will perform ‘Shastra Pooja’ (worship of weapons) in Paris where he is going to receive first of the 36 Rafale aircraft on the occasion of Dussehra on October 8. Air Force Day in India is also observed on October 8. “During his days as Home Minister, Rajnath Singh would perform Shastra pooja every Dushehra. Now as a defence Minister also, he would continue the tradition,” Defence officials close to Rajnath Singh said.
Notably, Shastra Pooja is an old Hindu tradition where warriors perform pooja of their arms and weapons. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his days as chief minister also used to perform Shastra pooja on every Dushehra of both ancient and modern arms.
Meanwhile, Rajnath is expected to meet French President Emanuel Macron before heading to Bordeaux for receiving the first Rafale aircraft made for India. He will be accompanied by newly-appointed vice chief of Air Staff, air marshal HS Arora. Singh will reach Paris on Monday, October 7.
“Rajnath Singh will fly a sortie on a Rafale aircraft when he formally receives the first aircraft in France on October 8. He will fly the sortie on a two-seater trainer aircraft,” a senior defence ministry official told IANS.
India had signed a deal with the French government and Dassault Aviation in September 2016, to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets for over 7.8 billion euros to arrest the fall of combat squadrons and meet urgent requirements on the eastern and western fronts.