Rajnath Singh calls on French President Macron to discuss defence & strategic ties

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with French president Emmanuel Macron | PTI
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with French President Emmanuel Macron | PTI

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Paris: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh known as on French President Emmanuel Macron right here on Tuesday and the 2 leaders mentioned stronger India-France defence and strategic ties throughout their “very warm and productive” assembly.

Singh arrived in France on Monday for an official handover ceremony of the primary Rafale fighter jet acquired by the Indian Air Drive (IAF).

In the course of the assembly at Elysee Palace right here, the official base of the French President, Singh welcomed France as an “important strategic partner” of India.

The assembly was described by the ministry of defence as “very warm and productive”.

“The meeting demonstrated the depth of India-France bilateral partnership, especially in the defence sector, that has significantly strengthened in recent times. Both leaders resolved to take the relationship to the next higher level,” mentioned an announcement issued by the ministry after the 35-minute assembly.

“Singh thanked President Macron for his strong support to further intensifying the strategic partnership between the two countries and for his support to the Make in India initiative,” it added.

He additionally expressed condolences on the demise of former French President Jacques Chirac on behalf of the Indian authorities.

“We have a multi-dimensional relationship with France and the ties are progressing on all fronts. The talks today are part of a comprehensive defence dialogue between the two countries,” mentioned Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, who’s a part of the ministerial delegation to France.

Singh additionally held discussions with France’s Armed Forces minister Florence Parly. Admiral Bernard Rogel, Defence Advisor to the French President, was additionally current on the assembly.

After the talks, Singh will probably be flown to Merignac, a suburb of the south-western French city of Bordeaux, the place he’ll take part in a tour of the power of Rafale producer Dassault Aviation earlier than a symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony for the primary Rafale fight jet.

Preparations have additionally been made for a standard Shastra Puja, or weapons’ worship which types a part of Dussehra celebrations and this 12 months additionally marks Air Drive Day – IAF’s 87th anniversary.

“Greetings to all IAF personnel and their families on the 87th IAF Day,” Singh tweeted.

“The IAF is the shining example of exemplary courage, fortitude, determination and impeccable service to our nation. These men and women in Blue have the ability to touch the sky with grit and glory,” he mentioned.

Singh is scheduled to fly a sortie within the Rafale jet following the Shastra Puja performed by him, which can conclude with the normal breaking of a coconut earlier than the brand new plane.

“He will also perform the Shastra Puja on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami and fly a sortie in the Rafale fighter aircraft,” a spokesperson of defence ministry mentioned.

Members of the highest army brass of France in addition to senior officers of Dassault Aviation may also be current on the ceremony.

India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a deal value Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. Whereas the formal handover ceremony takes place this week, the primary batch of 4 Rafale jets will fly to their residence base in India by Could 2020.

All 36 jets are anticipated to reach in India by September 2022, for which the IAF has been reportedly endeavor preparations, together with readying required infrastructure and coaching of pilots.

The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter plane in a position to function from each an plane provider and a shore base. The producers describe it as a totally versatile plane which may perform all fight aviation missions to attain air superiority and air defence, shut air assist, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence

“In the defence sector, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is our longest standing export customer and has been flying Dassault aircraft since 1953. The acquisition contract for 36 Rafale signed in 2016 and the modernisation of the Mirage 2000 I/TI are a continuation of this historic partnership,” Dassault Aviation mentioned in an announcement.

The Rafale jets meant for India are anticipated to return with sure bespoke modifications for the IAF and have been awaited as a vital enhancement to India’s Medium Multi-role Fight Plane fleet.

The primary Rafale jet will include tail quantity RB 001, with RB denoting the initials of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria who performed a key position in placing the deal for the jets in his earlier position as IAF deputy chief.

The handover ceremony will probably be adopted by the annual Indo-French Defence Dialogue between Singh and French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly again in Paris on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, the minister is scheduled to deal with CEOs representing main French defence business enterprises. As a part of a wider ‘Make in India’ message, Singh will invite them to take part within the DefExpo to be held in Lucknow from February 5 to eight subsequent 12 months.

Additionally learn: All about Rafale fighters, the game-changing dream machines IAF will get tomorrow

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