Defence minister Rajnath Singh welcome 'Golden Arrows' Rafale jets as it landed in Haryana's Ambala Air Force Station escorted by two Su-30MKIs. Singh said that the touch down of the five fighter aircraft marks the 'beginning of new era in our country's military history. "I congratulate the IAF on a professionally executed ferry. I am sure that 17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows, will continue to live upto their motto of "Udayam Ajasram". I am extremely happy that IAF’s combat capability has got a timely boost," he tweeted.
"I am extremely happy that IAF's combat capability has got a timely boost," said Singh. "The jets were purchased when they fully met operational requirements of IAF. If anyone should be worried about our new capability it should be those who want to threaten our territorial integrity."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also welcomed the jets.
दृष्टो नैव च नैव च।।
नभः स्पृशं दीप्तम्...
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 29, 2020
A part of security tightening measure and prohibitory orders, the Ambala district administration has barred people from flying private drones within the three-km radius of the air base. Roads leading to the Air Force Station will also be sealed till 5pm. Section 144 has been imposed in four villages closer to the air base, an official said, adding that gathering of people on roofs and photography during landing is strictly prohibited.
Here are all the latest updates on Rafale jet's landing:
• The defence ministry has tweeted saying that the five Rafale jets have entered Indian airspace and are being escorted by two Su-30MKIs.
— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) July 29, 2020
• The induction of these next generation aircrafts is a true testimony of PM Narendra Modi's resolve to make India a powerful and secure nation. The government is committed to build on India’s defence capabilities, said Home Minister Amit Shah in a series of tweets.
Induction of these next generation aircrafts is a true testimony of PM @narendramodi's resolve to make India a powerful and secure nation.
Modi govt is committed to build on India’s defence capabilities. I thank honourable PM for providing this unprecedented strength to our IAF. pic.twitter.com/g9lIO0bl6d
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) July 29, 2020
• Soon after taking off from the UAE, Rafale contingent established contact with Indian Navy warship INS Kolkata, deployed in the Western Arabian Sea.
• The jets, which stopped over at UAE's Al Dhafra Air Base on their way from France, will took off for India at 11:30am, the official said. IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will receive the jets at the Ambala air base.
• The jets took off from France on Monday after covering a distance of 7,000 km with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates. The fleet comprises three single-seater and two twin-seater aircraft, according to an IAF official.
• The first squadron of the Rafale jets will be stationed at the Ambala air base. The five Rafales are scheduled to be inducted into the IAF on Wednesday, though a formal induction ceremony would be held later. No 17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows, has been resurrected at the Ambala base to operate the Rafale aircraft. The resurrection ceremony in September 2019 was presided over by then Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, who had commanded the 17 Squadron during the Kargil conflict in 1999.
• Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said Ambala police have taken the necessary measures. The BJP leader and six-term MLA from Ambala Cantt said the people of Ambala are very enthusiastic and thousands would have come out on the streets to welcome the fighter jets before the touch down had there not been a pandemic.
• The minister further said that hadn't there been lockdown due to coronavirus, the residents would have come out and celebrated. "Today, history is being created. The people of Ambala are awaiting the arrival of Rafale fighter jets. If there was no COVID19, the people here would have welcomed the fighters jets with celebrations," he said.
• BJP's Ambala City MLA Aseem Goyal urged to people to light candles in their homes between 7-7:30 pm on Wednesday to welcome the Rafale jets.
• Nearly four years ago, India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France for 36 Rafale jets under a Rs 59,000-crore deal to boost the IAF's combat capabilities.