The first batch of five Rafale fighter jets was formally inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) at Ambala airbase on Thursday. The traditional Sarva Dharma Puja was performed as the IAF welcomed the fourth-generation Rafale jets in its arsenal. The Puja involved the recitation of special mantras and religious chants as per the norms of Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh faiths.
The priests chanted lines from religious scriptures and prayed for the victory of Indian soldiers in any challenge they might face.
#WATCH Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of the Armed Forces of France Florence Parly, witness the traditional ‘Sarva Dharma Puja’ at the Rafale induction ceremony, at Ambala airbase pic.twitter.com/0z74ECflJd— ANI (@ANI) September 10, 2020
Many special dignitaries including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, his French counterpart Florence Parly, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar attended the ceremony.
The French delegation at the ceremony included French envoy Emmanuel Lenain, Air Gen Eric Autellet, Vice Chief of French Air Force, Chairman and Chief Executive of Dassault Aviation Eric Trappier and CEO of missile maker MBDA Eric Beranger.
The Dharma Puja was followed by the Sarang aerobatic team performing various manoeuvres in an air display at the Ambala airbase. Water cannon salute was given to the Rafale fighter jets.
With today’s ceremonies, the Indian Air Force has formally inducted the first batch of the 5 Rafale jets into the 17 squadrons named ‘Golden Arrows’ based in Ambala Air Force Station. From today onwards the Rafale jets are to be fully operational with the IAF.
#RafaleInduction— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) September 10, 2020
IAF has formally inducted the #Rafale aircraft in 17 Squadron 'Golden Arrows' today, at Air Force Station, Ambala. The ceremony also marks #Rafale’s full operational entry into IAF.
Glimpses of the Rafale in action with IAF. pic.twitter.com/WfohU5vMET
Rafale fighter jets arrived in India on July 29
The first batch of five Rafale fighter aircraft had arrived at the IAF Air Force Station in Ambala on 29th July. The five fighter aircraft, which were flown by Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots, landed at Ambala Air Force station after covering a distance of 7,000 km with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates. India has purchased 36 Rafale aircraft from French aviation major Dassault, which is expected to boost the capacity of the Indian Air Force significantly. “Swagatam”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had Tweeted as he had posted a video of the jets landing at the air force ground.
The Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 year after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.