Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, who is in France for the official handover of the first of the 36 long-awaited Rafale fighter jets for India, discussed stronger strategic ties with French president Emmanuel Macron. Later today, the minster will visit Merignac, a suburb of the south-western French town of Bordeaux, where he will tour of the facility of Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation before a symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The minister is scheduled to fly a sortie in the Rafale jet following the brief Shastra Puja – the traditional worship of weapons that’s part of the Dussehra celebrations – which will conclude with the traditional breaking of a coconut before the new aircraft. The country is celebrating Dussehra – which marks the victory of Lord Ram over the demon king Ravana in the epic Ramayana – today.
The first batch of four jets – part of the Rs. 59, 000 – crore deal made in September 2016 – are expected to arrive in India in May next year. The rest will arrive by September 2022, for which the IAF has been undertaking preparations.
“We have a multi-dimensional relationship with France and the ties are progressing on all fronts. The talks today are part of a comprehensive defense dialogue between the two countries,” said defense secretary Ajay Kumar, who is part of the
Ahead of the meeting with Mr Macron, Mr Singh met the French Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms Florence Parly and the Defense Advisor to the French President, Admiral Bernard Rogel .
On Wednesday, Rajnath Singh is scheduled to address the captains of the French defense industry.
As part of a wider ‘Make in India’ message, Mr Singh will invite them to participate in the DefExpo to be held in Lucknow from February 5 to 8 next year.
GetBreaking news, live coverage, and LatestNewsfrom India and aroun d the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24 x7 andNDTV India. Like us onFacebookor follow us onTwitterandInstagramfor (latest news) andlive newsupdates.
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings