NEW DELHI :
DEFENCE Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday left for Paris on a three-day visit during which he will receive first of the 36 Rafale jets and will hold wide-ranging talks with his French counterpart Florence Parly. On Tuesday, Singh will meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and is expected to discuss issues relating to defence and security ties between the two countries, officials said. Singh will later leave for French port city of Bordeaux where he will receive the first Rafale jet at a ceremony to be attended by Parly and top brass of Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the aircraft.
After receiving the jet, Singh will perform ‘Shastra Puja’ (worship of weapons) on the occasion of Dussehra and then will take a sortie in the aircraft, officials said. The ceremony to hand over the Rafale jet will take place at a facility of Dassault Aviation in Merignac of Bordeaux, which is at a distance of around 590 km from Paris.
Though Singh will receive the first of the 36 Rafale jets on Tuesday, the first batch of four aircraft will come to India only by May next year. Later in the day, Singh will also hold the annual defence dialogue with Parly during which both sides will explore ways to further deepen defence and security ties. On October 9, Singh will address the CEOs of leading French defence firms during which he is likely to urge them to participate in “Make in India” initiatives in defence sector in India.