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French Defence Minister to Visit India to Attend Rafale Jets' Induction Ceremony

© Photo : Rajnath Singh/twitterThe Touchdown of Rafale at Ambala
The Touchdown of Rafale at Ambala - Sputnik International
India has urged France to speed up the delivery of the Rafale fighter jets amid border tensions with China in Ladakh. New Delhi already received 5 of the 36 jets on 29 July.

France's Defence Minister Florence Parly will visit India to attend the induction ceremony of Dassault-made Rafale jets into the Indian Air Force on 10 September.  

Talking about improving ties between the countries amid the pandemic, France's Ambassador to New Delhi Emmanuel Lenain called it an "important visit". 

​Parly, who will be accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour on arrival at Delhi, will be the chief guest at the event along with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

On what is her third visit to the country since 2017, Parly is also due to meet the India's national security adviser Ajit Doval.

While India has received five jets as per the $8.7 billion-agreement signed with France in 2016 for the delivery of 36 Rafales, the second batch of possibly four aircraft is expected to be delivered in October.

The Rafale fleet will be inducted into the 17th Squadron of the Indian Air Force, popularly known as 'the Golden Arrows'. Upon arrival, the aircraft will take part in extensive training exercises in the mountainous terrain of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh.

Parly will also reportedly focus on strengthening bilateral cooperation in areas such as the Indo-Pacific and joint military exercises.

Her talks with Singh and Doval will also cover industrial and technological partnerships and maritime security.

"Their broad-ranging talks will cover... maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, modalities of continuing the armed forces’ joint exercises in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, counter-terrorism cooperation, as well as major regional and international strategic issues," the statement said.

India's purchase of the French jets comes in the wake of a border stand off between Chinese and Indian troops in the Ladakh region, along the loosely demarcated Line of Actual Control. 

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