Paris: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday reached France on a three-day visit where he will receive the first of the 36 Rafale aircraft in the French port city of Bordeaux.
Rajnath took to micro blogging site Twitter to express his delight and called France "India's important strategic partner".
The Defence Minister further said that his visit was aimed at expanding the existing strategic partnership between both the countries.
"Bonjour Paris! Delighted to be in France. This great nation is India’s important strategic partner and our special relationship goes far beyond the realm of formal ties. My visit to France is aimed at expanding the existing strategic partnership between both the countries," the senior BJP leader tweeted.
Delighted to be in France. This great nation is India’s important strategic partner and our special relationship goes far beyond the realm of formal ties.
My visit to France is aimed at expanding the existing strategic partnership between both the countries.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) October 7, 2019
Rajnath Singh is scheduled to meet French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday at around 10 am (as per Indian Standard Time). After his talks with the French President, Rajnath will proceed to Merignac in the city of Bordeaux to formally receive the first Rafale fighter jet at around 2 pm.
The ceremony to hand over the Rafale jet will take place at a facility of Dassault Aviation, the makers of the aircraft, in Merignac, at around 600 km from Paris on Tuesday, October 8, the foundation day of the Indian Air Force and on the occasion of Hindu festival Dussehra.
After receiving Rafale jet, Rajnath will perform the Shastra Puja (worship of weapons) on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami, continuing his tradition of performing 'Shastra Puja' for last several years including during his tenure as the Union Home Minister in the previous NDA government.
After performing Shastra pooja, the Defence Minister will take a sortie in the newly-acquired Rafale aircraft.
Rajnath Singh will return to France later where he will hold the Annual Defence dialogue with French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly at 7 pm , a Defence Ministry statement said.
On October 9, he will address the CEOs of the French Defence industry during which he is likely to urge them to participate in 'Make in India' and the DefExpo to be held in Lucknow from February 5-8, 2020.
The first batch of four aircraft is expected to come to India by May next year.