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Aero India 2023

Four Rafale jets leave for Paris to take part in Bastille Day parade

NEW DELHI (PTI):  Four Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force left for France last Friday to take part in the Bastille Day flypast over the Champs Elysees in Paris on July 14.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend this year's Bastille Day Parade as the guest of honour.

Last Thursday, a 269-member tri-services contingent of the Indian armed forces left for Paris on board two C-17 Globemaster aircraft. Squadron Leader Sindhu Reddy, a woman helicopter pilot, will lead the IAF's marching contingent at the parade.

The IAF said a flying contingent of four Rafale fighters, two C-17 Globemasters and 72 personnel departed for France on Friday.

"The flypast and marching by the IAF air warriors on Bastille Day follows a long association that the two nations share, especially in the field of air power," it said in a statement.

"Many Indians like Welinkar, Shivdev Singh, H C Dewan and Jumbo Majumdar have fought over the skies of France during the two World Wars. Some, like Jumbo Majumdar were also decorated for their gallant action, over the Falaise Gap, during the terminal phase of World War II," it said.

"The Indian Air Force has also operated multiple French aircraft starting with the Ouragan. This was followed by fighter aircraft like Breguet Alize, Mystere IVA, SEPECAT Jaguar, Mirage 2000 and now, the Rafale," the IAF statement added.

The IAF said the professional ties between the two air forces have also been strengthened during flying exercises like Exercise Desert Knight, Garuda and Orion.

"The IAF's Rafale aircraft, flying wings to wings with the FASF (French Air and Space Force), is reflective of this strategic friendship spanning decades that continues to mature, both, on ground, as well as in air," it said.

India procured 36 Rafale jets from France under an inter-governmental framework.

The Rafale jets are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 year after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.

The Rafale jets are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons.

In August last year, a French Air and Space Force contingent, including three Rafale jets, made a strategically crucial stopover at the IAF's Sulur base in Tamil Nadu as part of a mega military operation it carried out in the Pacific Ocean.

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