Ambala/New Delhi: In the ultimate analysis, what ends well is a job well done! The Rafale jets have been inducted into the Indian Air Force at a grand ceremony at Ambala Air Force Station in Haryana.
"This kind of induction is very important for the kind of atmosphere that has been created on our borders," Defence Minister Rajnath said in reference to the escalating tensions with China in the eastern Ladakh.
This sends a strong message to China. "It is a strong message for the entire world, especially those eyeing India's sovereignty," Rajnath Singh was more than emphatic. Of course, the Defence Minister's strong remarks come hours ahead of a possible meeting between External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the margins of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Moscow.
Notably, Rajnath Singh also met his Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the SCO meet of Defence Ministers in Moscow last week.
Speaking on occasion, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said induction of Rafale jets could not have happened at a more opportune time considering the security scenario.
The Indian Army on Tuesday said Chinese troops attempted to close in on an Indian position near the southern bank of Pangong lake on the evening of September 7 and fired shots in the air French Defence Minister Ms Florence Parly, who arrived here to be part of the induction ceremony, said - "Rafale means a gust of wind if you are poetic and can also mean a burst of fire in a battlefield".
Former cricket star, M S Dhoni also hailed the induction of the fighter jet. "With the Final Induction Ceremony, the world’s best combat-proven 4.5Gen fighter plane gets the world’s best fighter pilots. In the hands of our pilots and the mix of different aircraft with the IAF the potent bird’s lethality will only increase," he tweeted. Dhoni is Honorary Lt. Colonel in the Territorial Army.
The first five Rafale jets included three single-seaters and two twin-seater jets which arrived India on July 29, flying from Mérignac in France via the UAE. The mission system of the Rafale, according to Dassault Aviation, has the potential to integrate a variety of current and future armaments.
Political controversies marred the purchase of Rafale jets for more than two years, and it had generated much heat in the run-up to the general elections in 2019.