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Watch: Rajnath Singh takes off in Rafale, his second fighter jet sortie in a month

This is Rajnath's second fighter sorties in a span of fewer than 30 days, earlier, he flew a sortie in indigenously developed LCA Tejas in Bengaluru.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 8, 2019 8:27:06 pm
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh sits in the first Indian Air Force Rafale fighter jet on the tarmac before its take-off at the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac. (Reuters)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday took a sortie in Rafale fighter aircraft in Mérignac after a symbolic handover event. The defence minister was flown by Philippe Duchateau, the head test pilot of Dassault Aviation.

“It was a very comfortable and smooth flight. It was an unprecedented moment, I had never thought that one day I will fly at supersonic speed in an aircraft,” the defence minister said after his first sortie in Rafale.

Rajnath is in France to receive the first of the 36 Rafale jets to be inducted into the Indian Air Force. After receiving the Rafale aircraft, he performed ‘Shastra Puja’ on the occasion of Dusshera which also coincides with the 87th Air Force Day being celebrated in India.

This was Rajnath’s second sortie in a fighter jet in a span of less than 30 days. Earlier, he undertook a sortie in the indigenously developed LCA Tejas in Bengaluru. Rajnath became the first Indian minister to fly in the Rafale fighter jet which is set to soar in the Indian skies by May 2020.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is seen after the delivery of the first Indian Air Force Rafale fighter jet at the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac near Bordeaux, France, October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

After receiving the first Rafale, Rajnath called it a new milestone in Indo-French defence cooperation and said, “I am happy that the delivery of Rafale aircraft is on schedule, I am confident that this will add further strength to our Air Force. I wish cooperation between our two major democracies further increases in all sectors.”

Earlier in the day, Rajnath met French President Emmanuel Macron and held discussions on strengthening India-France defence and strategic ties. He was then flown to Mérignac in a french military aircraft where he officially received the Rafale jet. Ahead of his talks with Macron, Singh also held discussions with French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly. Admiral Bernard Rogel, Defence Advisor to the French President, was also part of the meeting.

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