Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the French-made Rafale combat jet will boost India's air dominance exponentially, as he was formally handed the delivery of the first of 36 such aircraft acquired by the Indian government at a ceremony.
Rajnath attended the handover ceremony along with his French counterpart Florence Parly at aircraft maker Dassault Aviation facility in Merignac, southwestern France.
While the formal handover ceremony has been completed, the first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India only by May 2020.
"By February 2021, we will get delivery of 18 Rafale aircraft and by April-May 2022 we will get all 36 aircraft. This is a part of our self-defence and not a sign of aggression against anyone. It is a deterrent", the defence minister said, adding that the credit for this milestone goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose decisiveness made this crucial air enhancement possible.