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Rafale fighter jet a deterrent, not a sign of aggression against anyone: Rajnath Singh

Calling Rafale a great deterrent, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the fighter jet has the ability to fire air-to-air and air-to-land simultaneously and the addition of this aircraft is a part of India's self defence and it should not be seen as a sign of aggression against anyone.

Rafale fighter jet a deterrent, not a sign of aggression against anyone: Rajnath Singh
Pic courtesy: Twitter/@rajnathsingh
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Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday created history by becoming the first defence minister to fly in Rafale fighter jet. The defence minister took a 35-minute-long sortie in Rafale fighter jet after taking off from Dassault Aviation Mérignac facility in France. The two-seater fighter jet was being flown by Philippe Duchateau, head test pilot of Dassualt Aviation, while Rajnath Singh sat in the rear seat behind the pilot in the cockpit.

Talking to media after landing, the 68-year-old BJP leader said that it was a very comfortable and smooth flight. Rajnath Singh added that it was an unprecedented moment and he had never thought that one day he will get the chance to fly at super sonic speed in a fighter jet. "It was a very comfortable and smooth flight. It was an unprecedented moment, I had never thought that one day I will fly at super sonic speed in an aircraft," he said.

Calling Rafale a great deterrent, Rajnath Singh said that the fighter jet has the ability to fire air-to-air and air-to-land simultaneously and the addition of this aircraft is a part of India's self defence and it should not be seen as a sign of aggression against anyone.

"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," noted Rajnath Singh.

Earlier on Tuesday, Rajnath Singh received the first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets on behalf of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and he also performed a 'Shastra Puja'. The defence minister said that he decided to perform a 'Shastra Puja' of Rafale because it is a very strong weapon (shastra).

"I am told that Rafale is a French word meaning gust of wind. I am sure the aircraft will live up to its name. I believe Rafale will boost India's air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region," the defence minister said after receiving the Rafale jet," Rajnath Singh had said after officially receiving the first Rafale.

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"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," he added.

Rafale is one of the most advanced 4++ Generation fighter and it packs a lethal punch with an array of missiles and bombs, including MBDA's deadly Meteor and Scalp as part of the Rafale weapons package. While Meteor is the world's best Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), the fire-and-forget Scalp is a long-range, air-launched, stand-off attack missile which can penetrate deep into hard rock and fortified targets.