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France delivers first Rafale Aircraft, Defence Minister performs “Shastra Puja”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was preceded by Shastra Puja by Defence minister Rajnath Singh – the traditional worship of weapons during Dussehra. He also completed a 30-minute sortie in the twin-seater trainer version of the Rafale fighter aircraft.

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India has finally received the first of the 36 long-awaited Rafale fighter jets bought from the Dassault Aviation in France on Tuesday. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on a three-day visit to France, accepted the handover at a facility of Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Bordeaux. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was preceded by Shastra Puja – the traditional worship of weapons during Dussehra.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday also completed a 30-minute sortie in the twin-seater trainer version of the Rafale fighter aircraft

I had never thought that one day I will fly at super sonic speed in a combat aircraft, Rajnath said after the sortie.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday completed a 30-minute sortie in the twin-seater trainer version of the Rafale fighter aircraft soon after the handover ceremony of the jet in France.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performed Shastra Puja or Weapon worship of Rafale Aircraft.

“It was a very comfortable and smooth flight. It was an unprecedented moment, I had never thought that one day I will fly at super sonic speed in a combat aircraft,” Rajnath was quoted as saying by news agency ANI after the sortie.

The multirole combat aircraft, flown by Phillipe Duchateau, the chief test pilot of Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of Rafale jets, took off from an airstrip near the facility of the Dassault Aviation at 7.24pm IST. It landed at the airstrip after completing a few manoeuvres at 7.54pm IST.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Singh met French President Emmanuel Macron and discussed stronger strategic ties with France.

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