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Overview of defence minister Mr Rajnath Singh’s visit to France

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Defence minister of India Mr Rajnath Singh visited Paris, France from October 7-9, 2019. He was received by a military guard of honour at Hotel de Brienne, the headquarters of the French Armed Forces ministry in Paris.
i. During the visit, he received the first of the 36 Rafale aircrafts.
ii. Indian delegation: It included Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar, senior officials from the Ministry of Defence and the three Services.Mr Rajnath Singh’s visit to France

First Rafale aircraft
Defence minister arrived at Merignac Airbase in Bordeaux, France where he was welcomed by the Dassault Aviation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eric Trappier. He was also accompanied by the French Minister of Armed Forces Ms Florence Parly.

  • He received the first of the 36 Rafale aircrafts from France on behalf of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base.
  • It had a tail number RB-001, which are the initials of IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria.
  • The minister performed ‘Shastra Puja’, a ritual involving the worship of weapons and also undertook a sortie on a Rafale fighter jet.
  • The first squadron of the aircraft will be deployed at Ambala air force station, Haryana and the second at Hasimara base in West Bengal.
  • Background: The Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale aircraft procurement was signed between the Government of India and the Government of France on 23 September, 2016 worth Rs 59,000 crore. The first batch of 4 Rafale jets will fly to home base in India by May 2020 and all 36 jets are expected to arrive in India by April 2022 (18 Rafales by February 2021). The maker of the aircraft is Dassault Aviation, a french company.

Second India-France Ministerial level Annual Defence Dialogue 2019
Mr Rajnath Singh held a second India-France Ministerial level Annual Defence Dialogue 2019 with his French counterpart Florence Parly in Paris.

  • They reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral defence cooperation and agreed to expand the scope of the existing regular bilateral joint exercises like Shakti, Varuna and Garuda.
  • They agreed to continue the implementation of actions outlined in the “Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region” (IOR) (March 2018).

Bilateral talks with President of French Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron 
Mr Singh held talks with President of French Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris. They held discussions on key aspects of bilateral defence partnership between both countries.

Other highlights

  • The minister addressed the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of French Defence Industries in France.
  • He extended an invitation to the French firms to participate in DefExpo 2020, which will be held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh from February 5-8, 2020. The 11th edition, a biennial event, will be held under the theme ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’ and it’s focus will be on ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’.
  • Dassault Aviation has also released the first airborne photographs of the second aircraft with the tail number RB-002.

About Dassault Aviation:
Founded: 1929
Headquarters: Paris, France

About France:
Capital: Paris
Currency: Euro