New Delhi: A day before India’s first squadron of Rafale fighter jets is scheduled to land in India, Emmanuel Lenain, the French envoy to India, on Tuesday praised the aircraft as ‘outstanding’, adding that Indian technicians and pilots completed their training in France ‘marvellously’. Also Read - Rafale Deal: First Squadron of 5 Jets Flies Out of France, to Reach India on Wednesday
Speaking to news agency ANI, the French ambassador said, “Planes are outstanding, Indian technicians and pilots marvellously completed their training in France. They are totally capable to use these planes at their best”. Also Read - First Batch of 5 Rafale Fighter Jets Likely to Arrive in India by July-end, Says IAF
Notably, the first squadron-comprising five Rafale jets-will land at the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Ambala airbase tomorrow. In all, India will receive 36 Rafale fighters from France, as per a Rs 59,000 crore deal signed in September 2016. By early 2021, all 36 Rafales will have arrived in India.
The five Rafale jets left France for India on Monday and will land there after completing a distance of nearly 7,000 kilometres. Built by France’s Dassault Aviation and piloted by IAF pilots, they earlier landed at UAE’s Al Dhafra airbase for a brief stopover before resuming their flight to India.
Earlier today, the IAF shared images of the jets being refulled mid-air from a French Air Force tanker before their UAE stopover.
Meanwhile, in view of the aircraft’s scheduled arrival, Section 144 has been imposed in villages close to the Ambala airbase. Gathering of people on roofs and photography during landing has also been strictly prohibited.
Also, being a sensitive zone, the whole Ambala Cantt area has been declared as a ‘no-flying zone’.