The Indian Air Force holds prayer ceremonies and flight demonstrations when it is staffing five Rafale fighters for the crew stationed near the border with China.
On September 10, the Indian army held a ceremony to pay five Rafale fighters to the 17th squadron stationed at Ambala base, Haryana state, near the border area bordering Pakistan and China. The 17th Squadron, nicknamed “Golden Arrow”, was the first Indian Air Force unit to be in service with the Rafale fighter.
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and his counterpart Florence Parly and senior defense officials attended the ceremony. Indian monks perform the Sarva Dharma Puja prayer ceremony while presenting the newly received Rafale fighters. Then, Rafale fighters, Tejas and Dhruv helicopters of the Sarang flight demonstration team performed their maneuvers in the sky.
India received the first batch of Rafale fighters of five from France on July 29, and then sent the planes to participate in training in the mountainous areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh. India signed a deal worth $ 8.7 billion in 2016 to buy 36 Rafale fighters produced by Dassault Aviation of France, expected to receive all aircraft by the end of 2021.
The Rafale fighter is expected to supplement the Indian air force with the ability to perform a variety of missions, including electronic warfare, air combat, ground air strikes and deep jab attacks. India holds the Rafale fighter’s payroll ceremony amid tensions with China over the border issue that has not shown signs of cooling off.
Many clashes between the Indian and Chinese armies erupted from late April and early May along the Reality Control Line (LAC), the undefined border between the two countries. Bilateral tensions peaked with a deadly brawl on June 15 that killed 20 Indian soldiers and many Chinese soldiers wounded.
Indian and Chinese officials hold talks and diplomacy to cool down tensions along the LAC. However, tensions erupted again after the two countries accused each other of violating the no-fire agreement when shooting only in a collision along the Pangong Tso lake.