Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the French Defence Minister’s visit is a souvenir of India-France defence partnership

The five newly acquired Rafale Jets have formally been inducted into the 17th Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ of the Indian Air Force. French Defence Minister Florence Parly who is in India to hold bilateral talks with her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh was present at the induction ceremony.

Parly landed in India on September 10 to attend the induction ceremony of the newly acquired Rafale Jets and is attending a bilateral meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval to discuss issues ranging from defence cooperation to counter-terrorism programmes.

The Defence Ministry of India wrote on Twitter, “Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh and French Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms @florence_parly attending the bilateral meeting in Ambala.”

According to the statement shared by the Consulate General of France on its website, the Ministers were likely to talk on issues like industrial and technological partnership in line with the Make in India programme, operational defence cooperation, particularly maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, modalities of continuing the armed forces’ joint exercises in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and counter-terrorism cooperation.

“These talks will further President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to deepen and expand the Indo-French partnership, with strategic autonomy and the defence of a multipolar order as its cornerstones,” the statement further said.

Rajnath Singh cheered the India-France relationship by saying that the French Defence Minister’s visit is a souvenir of India-France defence partnership.

On his Twitter handle, he wrote, “Attended the Rafale Induction Ceremony along with French Defence Minister Ms @florence_parly in Ambala today. Her presence in the ceremony is a reflection of the strong India-France defence partnership. The induction of Rafale fighter jets in IAF is a big & momentous occasion for India.”

The French Defence Minister later retweeted his tweet.

The newly acquired jets were officially inducted into the Indian Air Force with a gallant show of honour. It was a sight to behold when the Indian Air Force showcased its skills in the clear skies of Ambala.

“Air Display by @IAF_MCC at Air Force Station in Ambala,” the defence ministry tweeted.

Speaking at the ceremony, Singh called the induction of Rafale as a strong message for the world.

“The induction of Rafale is a strong message for the world and especially for those who challenge India’s sovereignty. The induction is a very important step in light of the prevailing security conditions that prevail, or I would say, that have been created along India’s borders,” he wrote on twitter later.

Hailing India’s relationship with France, he requested France to invest in Indian defence sector. “I would like to urge and invite our partner country France to invest in the Indian defence sector. Responding to ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ call by our Prime Minister, Shri @narendramodi, the Government has taken several progressive and positive steps in this direction,” he wrote.

The newly acquired five Rafale jets is a part of a Rs.58,000 crores deal signed between India and Dassault Aviation of France to buy a total of 36 Rafale jets.