Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday, 10 September, said that the induction of the Rafale aircraft is a "strong message for the world and especially for those who challenge India's sovereignty", in what could be seen as a message to China amid the ongoing standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.
"This induction is important considering the kind of atmosphere at our borders or should I say the kind of atmosphere created at our borders," Singh said at the ceremony on Thursday, as the first batch of five Rafale aircraft were formally inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Air Force Station in Ambala.
Along with Singh, French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, was the chief guest at the programme.
‘Committed to Peace in Indo-Pacific’
Calling the Rafale deal a "game-changer" for India's national security, Singh said the induction of the aircraft is an example of India's commitment to border security and ensuring territorial integrity.
"“India’s responsibility is not limited to its territorial boundary... We are committed to peace in Indo-Pacific, Indian Ocean Region... Our role in Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region is increasing consistently.”" - Rajnath Singh, as quoted by PTI
Saying that the IAF plays an important role in maintaining military deterrence, the defence minister said its actions will be decisive in case of any future war.
Meanwhile, Singh's French counterpart Florence Parly said the two countries are writing a new chapter in defence ties.
"“We are fully committed to ‘Make in India’ initiative, as well as, to the further integration of the Indian manufacturers in our global supply chain.”" - French Minister Florence Parly, as quoted by ANIPitch for Investment in Defence Sector
After the induction ceremony, the two leaders also held a bilateral meeting. Addressing the media after the meeting in Ambala, Rajnath Singh said he has invited French defence manufacturers to invest in the defence corridors of India.
Parly, meanwhile, said the Rafale induction event marks a step forward in the strategic partnership of the two countries.
"“Recently, our two countries showed solidarity in the management of the health crisis. At the peak of COVID-19 in France, India supported us by sending essential medicines. On our side, we recently sent to India, medical equipment for patients in intensive care.”" - French Minister Florence Parly, as quoted by ANI
(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)
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