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Thursday
February 2020
10:47 AM IST
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Ishant is hitting good areas, Prithvi should follow instincts: Kohli hints on playing XI        PCB chief hints at Pakistan giving up Asia Cup hosting rights        First 5G handset in India likely to be priced at Rs 50,000        Coronavirus outbreak to hit global growth; to have limited impact on India: RBI Guv        Death toll from China virus surges past 2,000        Necessary to prevent statelessness when nationality laws are changed: UN chief        Maha CM visits Shivneri Fort on Shivaji''s birth anniversary        Can transport minister come to explain govt proposal for introducing EVs, asks SC        SC upheld right to protest but other citizens also have rights: Interlocutors at Shaheen Bagh        Won't rule out playing 2023 World Cup, says Taylor        Sachin Tendulkar wins Laureus Sporting Moment Award for 2011 WC triumph        Messi, Hamilton share Laureus World Sportsman of Year honour; Biles gets third award        Kerala tourism eyes robust growth in domestic tourist footfalls in 2020        RBI Governor says no reason to doubt govt will meet fiscal deficit targets        UK budget on March 11 as planned: new finance minister        Wuhan hospital director dies of coronavirus        Opening of Kartarpur Corridor practical proof of Pakistan's desire for peace, says UN chief        People of Delhi taught a lesson to BJP which it will remember for long time: Gehlot        Delhi court sends Sharjeel to judicial custody till Mar 3 in New Friends Colony anti-CAA violence case        Prashant Kishor questions Nitish Kumar's development in Bihar        
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Main News
India-France Defence Dialogue to enhance strategic ties, says Rajnath Singh
 
Paris: Defence minister Rajnath Singh concluded the annual India-France Defence Dialogue with French Armed Forces minister Florence Parly in Paris, with enhanced strategic ties on top of his agenda.

Singh was received by a military guard of honour at Hotel de Brienne, the headquarters of the French Armed Forces ministry in Paris, on Tuesday night at end of a packed day's schedule during which he received the delivery of the first Rafale combat jet for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

This marks a new milestone in the Indo-French strategic partnership and indeed a new high in the bilateral defence cooperation. Such achievements encourage us to do more and that will be on my agenda when I meet minister Parly, said Singh, just before he performed Shastra Puja on the new Rafale aircraft before flying a sortie in it.

The minister is on a three-day visit to France, which will cover a tour of a facility owned by French multinational Safran the company which produces the engines for the Rafale fighter jets on Wednesday morning.

He will conclude his tour with a meeting with captains of French business and industry around the merits of the Make in India initiative, during which he will also extend a formal invitation for them to participate in the DefExpo to be held in Lucknow from February 5 to 8, 2020.

Singh had kick-started his busy schedule with a meeting at Elysee Palace with President Emmanuel Macron for talks described as a warm and productive , as both leaders resolved to take the India-France relationship to a higher level.

He was then flown for Merignac Airport in the nearby town of Bordeaux for a grand induction ceremony planned for the first of 36 Rafale combat jets, which are all scheduled to be delivered to India by around May 2022.

This aircraft marks a massive enhancement in the Indian Air Force combat capability but that enhancement is not for attack purposes but as a deterrent for self defence. And, the credit for this milestone goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose decisiveness has made this crucial air enhancement possible today, the minister said after a 25-minute sortie in the aircraft.

Singh has said he expects the first 18 aircraft to be delivered by February 2021, with the remaining expected by April-May 2022.

The 36 high-precision Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, which include 13 India-specific enhancements sought by the IAF, are destined for Ambala in Punjab and Hasimara in West Bengal.

In terms of guarding of two borders, these aircraft will certainly provide the potent air defence we require. They are by far the most potent platform for our air defence, explained Air Marshall Harjit Singh Arora, the Vice Chief of Air Staff who accompanied the minister at the induction ceremony on Tuesday, which also marked Air Force Day.


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