The first batch of five French-made Rafale fighter jets has finally arrived in India. These are out of the 36 combat jets India had ordered in 2016 at a cost of 59,000 crores. They touched down at the Ambala airbase around 3:10 PM on Wednesday covering a distance of about 7,000 km from the Merignac airbase in France’s Bordeaux.
These are the first combat jets procured by India in two decades, and the delivery comes amid heightened border tensions with China in eastern Ladakh and continued frayed ties with Pakistan. Rafale fighters are expected to be a game-changer in case a battle happens with the neighbour nations.
Each of the combat aircraft was given a special water cannon salute at the strategically-located airbase in Haryana’s Ambala in the presence of top brass of the Indian Air Force, including Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria who had played a key role as lead negotiator in the procurement of the jets.