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Defence Minister Rajnath hails Chirac, Vajpayee at Rafale handover

File photo: Rajnath Singh Photograph:( ANI )

ANI New Delhi, India Oct 08, 2019, 06.53 PM (IST)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid tributes to former French President Jacques Chirac and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during a speech ahead of India receiving the first of the Rafale fighter aircraft in France on Tuesday.

Singh said October 8 is a milestone for Indo-France strategic partnership and marks a new high in bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries.

"Former President Jacques Chirac had laid the basic groundwork for a strategic partnership between India and France along with Prime Minister Vajpayee," said Singh.

Singh thanked French aviation major Dassault, which manufactures the Rafale, for sticking to the delivery timeline of the fighter jet.

"I am sure the delivery of the remaining aircraft and the weapon systems will be on time. The acquisition of Rafale by India will ensure global peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability in the region," he added.

Singh received the first Rafale jet following a traditional `Shastra Puja` at the Dassault facility in Merignac.

"I am glad many officials and airmen of the Indian Air Force are being trained for flying, maintenance, support and logistics. The training will help the officials achieve technical knowledge and professional expertise," said Singh.