18:28 GMT17 June 2021
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    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) - Three French-made Rafale fighter jets have taken off to India to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) squadron, the Indian Embassy in France said.

    "Next batch of three #Rafales leave from France to India today; wished the pilots smooth flight and safe landing," the diplomatic mission tweeted Wednesday.

    With these jets joining the IAF, the total number of Rafale warplanes in India will reach 21. Another four are expected to be delivered from France within a month.

    In March, sources in the Indian Defenсe Ministry told Sputnik that IAF would begin the deployment of its second Rafale squadron in mid-April at the new operating base in West Bengal.

    The second squadron of Rafale fighter jets commissioned by India from France is based at Hasimara Air Force Base in the Alipurduar district of West Bengal. The first five-jet batch, deployed in September 2020, is based in Ambala in the Indian state of Haryana as part of the Golden Arrows squadron.

    In 2016, India signed a deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France for an estimated $8.7 billion. The jets are set to be handed over to India within the next few years.

    Tags:
    Rafale fighter jets, France, India
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