New Delhi, Oct 8 (IANS) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called on French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday, ahead of formally receiving the first of the 36 Rafale jets purchased by India in France on the occasion of Dussehra, a senior official said.
Rajnath is on a three-day visit to France from Monday.
India has entered into an inter-governmental agreement with France and Dassault, the French aviation major, to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets in flyaway condition at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
A Defence Ministry official here said the meeting between Macron and Rajnath at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday lasted for more than half-an-hour.
Before calling on Macron, Singh met the French Minister for the Armed forces Florence Parly and the French President’s Defence Advisor Admiral Bernard Rogel.
Singh, who is accompanied on the France tour by a host of senior defence officials, reached Paris late on Monday night.
“Bonjour Paris! Delighted to be in France. This great nation is India’s important strategic partner and our special relationship goes far beyond the realm of formal ties. My visit to France is aimed at expanding the existing strategic partnership between both the countries,” Singh had tweeted.
The Rafale aircraft will be handed over to Singh at the Bordeaux-Merignac Air Base near the assembly plant of Dassault Aviation later on Tuesday.
Singh is scheduled to conduct a ‘Shastra Puja’ (weapon worship) before receiving the fighter jet. Later, he will also fly a sortie on a twin-seater trainer version of the Rafale combat aircraft.