Five Rafale jets have landed safely at the Ambala Air Force Station marking "the beginning of a new era in our military history", Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter.
The defence minister also thanked the French government, Dassault Aviation, and other French companies for "ensuring the timely delivery of the aircraft and its weapons, despite the severe restrictions posed by COVID pandemic".
The Rafale jets were purchased only because PM Shri @narendramodi took the right decision to get these aircrafts through an Inter-Governmental Agreement with France, after the long pending procurement case for them could not progress. I thank him for his courage & decisiveness.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 29, 2020
"This aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar, and other sensors and electronic warfare capabilities are amongst the best in the world. Its arrival in India will make the IAF much stronger to deter any threat that may be posed on our country", Rajnath Singh said.
I would like to add, if it is anyone who should be worried about or critical about this new capability of the Indian Air Force, it should be those who want to threaten our territorial integrity.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 29, 2020
The 36 Rafale fighter aircraft bought by India from France departed on 27 July, made air-to-air refuelling along the way and a stop in the United Arab Emirates.
Indian Ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf was at the air base to see the aircraft off.
Originally, the Indian government wanted to buy 126 jets, but it had to decrease the number due to the high cost of the fighter jet.