The Rafale fighters entered service with the Indian Air Force’s “Golden Arrows” squadron (No. 17 Squadron), after being handed over by France on 27 July 2020.
The Hindustan Times reported that five Indian Rafale fighters were officially handed over to the country’s air force at a ceremony held at Ambala Air Base on September 10. This base is located in the state of Haryana, near the border area of Pakistan and China.
The ceremony was attended by French Defense Minister Florence Parly and his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh and senior Indian generals, including Mr. Harkeerat Singh, commander of the 17th squadron, nicknamed Golden Arrows, belongs to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Speaking at the ceremony, Indian Air Force Commander R.K.S. Bhadauria stressed that the Rafale fighter’s power will be a challenge to the enemy.
“Today marks a new milestone in the Indo-French strategic partnership and indeed a new high in the bilateral defence cooperation. Such achievements encourage us to do more and that will be on my agenda when I meet minister Parly today,” said Minister Rajnath Sigh.
He emphasized that the new fighters will help India ensure the ability to maintain peace and stability in the region.
In addition, he said the air force’s prudent and agile action near the Actual Control Line (LAC) in the border area with China showed their commitment to national security.
For his part, Minister Parly believes India will have an advantage over rivals in terms of security thanks to the new fighters. Besides, the Rafale fighters also symbolize the friendship between France and India. Ms. Parly also said that France supports India to become a member of the UN Security Council.
Previously, the five fighters above, including 3 1-seater and 2 2-seater (for training), piloted by Indian pilots took off from the Dassault aviation facility in Merignac (France) on July 27.
This is the first 5 out of 36 Rafales that India signed a contract to order from France in September 2016. The total value at the time of the signing was 590 billion rupees (7.8 billion euros, about 8.7 billion dollars).
It is expected that by the end of this year, India will receive the remaining 31 aircraft.