The first batch of India's five Rafale fighter jets landed at the Indian Air Force (IAF) airbase at Ambala around 3.14 pm on Wednesday amid a ceremonial welcome and unprecedented security. Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh shared a touchdown video of the Rafale fighter jets at the Ambala IAF airbase.
The video with a duration of 27 seconds, shows a Rafale jet, initially a black speck against the blue sky, heading towards the Ambala airbase. The fighter aircraft then makes a historic touchdown that the Defence Minister called "the beginning of a new era in our Military History".
The Touchdown of Rafale at Ambala. pic.twitter.com/e3OFQa1bZY
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 29, 2020
The jets took off from the Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux on Monday and covered a distance of 7,000 km with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates.
The Defence Minister took to Twitter to share the development. In a warning to Pakistan and China, Singh said ''those who want to threaten India's territorial integrity should be worried now'' while welcoming the Rafale fighters.
Singh also took a jibe at the Congress saying that the fighter jets were purchased when they fully met the operational requirements of the IAF and the baseless allegations against the procurement have already been answered. "The Rafale jets were purchased when they fully met the operational requirements of the IAF. The baseless allegations against this procurement have already been answered and settled," he tweeted.
Lauding the Rafale fighters, he said, "This aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar and other sensors and Electronic Warfare capabilities are amongst the best in the world. Its arrival in India will make the IAF much stronger to deter any threat that may be posed on our country."
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, "The Rafale jets were purchased only because PM Narendra Modi took the right decision to get these aircraft through an Inter-Governmental Agreement with France after the long-pending procurement case for them could not progress. I thank him for his courage and decisiveness."
He also thanked the French Government, Dassault Aviation and other French companies for the timely delivery of the aircraft and its weapons, in the midst of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. "I also thank the French Government, Dassault Aviation and other French companies for ensuring the timely delivery of the aircraft and its weapons, despite the severe restrictions posed by COVID pandemic," he tweeted.
With the touchdown of the Rafale fighter jets, the Defence Minister said, "The Birds have landed safely in Ambala." He also congratulated the IAF, adding that the Rafale fighter jets in India marks the beginning of a new era in nation's military history and will revolutionise the capabilities of the IAF.