Tribune News Service
Ambala, September 10
Terming the Rafale fighter a game changer for India’s security, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the induction of the aircraft has sent a strong message to the world, especially to those who challenge the country’s sovereignty.
Speaking at the formal induction ceremony for the first batch of five Rafales with No.17 Squadron at the Ambala Air Force Station today, Rajnath said the induction was significant in the light of the present situation that has been created on the borders.
- Rafale literally means ‘gust of wind’ or ‘burst of fire’
- Five fighter aircraft arrived on July 29 from France
- India signed a pact for 36 jets at a cost of Rs 59,000 cr
- Combat aircraft is N-capable
Editorial: Welcome Rafale
Reiterating the resolve to not compromise India’s sovereignty under any circumstances, he said: “Strengthening our defence is aimed at achieving international peace and stability and we do not want to take any step that can endanger international peace. We have the same expectation from our neighbours and other countries of the world.”
‘India to have edge’
In strategic terms, it (Rafale induction) means India will have an edge over the entire region to protect its people…. France has always stood beside India in good times and bad. —Florence Parly, French Defence Minister
Complimenting the IAF for its swift and decisive action during the current standoff in Ladakh, he said the speed with which the IAF deployed its assets at forward bases instilled confidence that it was fully prepared to carry out its operational tasks.
Stating that the IAF needed to look into new challenges related to artificial intelligence and unconventional warfare, he said the defence capabilities had to be constantly upgraded. He added that India’s commitments were not just restricted to its borders, but had been expanded to the Indian Ocean Region and the Indo-Pacific where India’s role has been well received internationally.
French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly said the aircraft provided an invaluable sovereign tool to India to meet its security requirements. She Parly added that the induction of the Rafale was testimony to the strong Indo-French strategic partnership. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said the Rafale induction could not have come at a more appropriate time.
To work closely in Indian Ocean Region
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly held extensive talks during which they vowed to step up cooperation in the Indian Ocean, a region which is witnessing rising Chinese military posturing.
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