Rafale induction strong message to those eyeing India’s sovereignty: Rajnath

New Delhi (NVI): The induction of Rafale jets in Indian Air Force is a strong message for those who are challenging India’s sovereignty and integrity, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said today, in an indirect reference to the prevailing situation at LAC.

“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,” Rajnath said in a tweet as five Rafale jets were inducted into Indian Air Force in a ceremony at Ambala Air Force Base.

The induction ceremony took place at the Ambala Air Force base, where IAF’s 17 Squadron, also called ‘Golden Arrows’, is based. India’s first five Rafale fighters will be a part of the ‘Golden Arrows’ squadron.

“I am happy to state that in the security concerns of this region; the views of India and France converge and we are cooperating with each other in dealing with common challenges like maritime traffic security and piracy,” Rajnath said in another tweet.

The Defence Minister also urged and invited France to invest in the Indian defence sector.

He further said the Indian Air Force plays an important role in maintaining military deterrence and that its actions will be decisive in any future war.

“While the prevailing situation on our boundaries has caught our attention, we should not ignore the threat of cross-border terrorism,” Rajnath said.

Besides Rajnath, his French counterpart Florence Parly was the chief guest of the Rafale induction ceremony at Ambala Air Force base. Air Chief Marshall RKS Bhadauria, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, were also present.

Rajnath Singh said, “The induction of these fighter jets represent strong ties between India and France. The strategic ties between the two countries have also strengthened.”

During the ceremony, the Rafale jets were given a water cannon salute after stunning air maneuvers were performed by the Rafale, Su-30 and Jaguars.

Earlier, Rajnath Singh and Florence Parly witnessed the ‘Sarva Dharma Puja’ at the Ambala airbase.

“This induction couldn’t have come at a better time given the security situation,” RKS Bhadauria said at the event.

The induction comes at a time of escalating border tensions with China on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.

The Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in over two decades.

-CHK/ARK