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'This is Our Faith': Rajnath Singh Defends Performing 'Shastra Puja' For Rafale Jets Amid Controversy

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh responded to the opposition's criticism by saying that people should have the right to pray according to their beliefs.

News18.com

Updated:October 11, 2019, 7:43 AM IST
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'This is Our Faith': Rajnath Singh Defends Performing 'Shastra Puja' For Rafale Jets Amid Controversy
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performs 'Shashtra Puja' on a Rafale jet fighter during an handover cermony at the Dassault Aviation plant in Merignac, France on October 08, 2019. (Image: AP)

New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that the seven Rafale fighter jets which India has procured from France will arrive in April or May next year.

Singh made his statement after arriving from France where he had gone for the official handover of the first fighter jet. The ceremony had sparked a massive debate after Singh performed a 'shashtra puja', etching 'Om' on the aircraft and adorning it with flowers.

Several leaders including Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar had hit out saying it had been akin to a puja performed for a new truck.

"People can say whatever they want. I did what I thought was right and I will continue to do so. This is our faith, that there is a superpower and I have believed it since childhood," was Rajnath Singh's response.

A report by the news outlet ANI also quoted the BJP leader as saying that people should have the right to pray according to their beliefs and that he would not have objected to the criticism if everyone had felt the same way.

"I feel there must have been a difference of opinion over the issue in Congress as well," he said while referring to the differing stands taken by Maharashtra Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam and Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.

According to Defence Minister, the France visit had been a success and he had also held a 35-minute meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

"After induction of Rafale fighter aircraft, the combat capability of the Indian Air Force will increase. We don't want to intimidate anyone by doing so. We will neither fear anyone nor will we intimidate," ANI quoted the Defence Minister as saying.

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