New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will Tuesday perform ‘Shastra Puja’ (worship of weapons) on the occasion of ‘Dussehra’ after receiving the first of 36 Rafale jets in the French port city of Bordeaux, officials said. After performing puja, he will take a sortie in the aircraft, they said.
Rajnath Singh has been performing ‘Shastra Puja’ for last several years including during his tenure as the Union Home Minister in the previous NDA government.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will leave for Paris on a three-day visit Monday, primarily to receive the first Rafale fighter jet Tuesday – the foundation day of the Indian Air Force (IAF) as well as the day when ‘Dussehra’ will be celebrated.
Before leaving for Bordeaux on the morning of Tuesday, the Defence Minister will meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and is expected to discuss issues relating to defence and security ties between the two countries.
The ceremony to hand over the first Rafale jet will take place at a facility of Dassault Aviation, the makers of the aircraft, in Merignac of Bordeaux, which is at a distance of around 590 km from Paris. However, it must be stated here that the first batch of four aircraft will to come to India only by May next year.
“The Defence Minister will participate in the Rafale handing over ceremony at Merignac along with French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly. He will also perform the ‘Shastra Puja on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami and fly a sortie in the Rafale fighter aircraft,” Defence Ministry Spokesperson Bharat Bhusan Babu said.
Rajnath Singh will address the CEOs of leading French defence firms October 9, during which he is likely to urge them to participate in the ‘Make in India’ in defence sector in India, Babu said. Singh is also likely to invite them to the ‘DefExpo’ to be held in Lucknow February 5 to 8 next year.