New Delhi, Sept 8: While the political slugfest on Rafale deal continues, the pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) trained at the french fighter fighter jet during a joint military drill being held in Gwalior and Agra air base.
The bilateral aerial exercise featured the participation of three Indian pilots, along with the French contingent. This was not the first occasion when the Air Force experienced the functioning of the Rafale. The Dassault-manufactured jet has been a regular presence at the Aero shows held in bengaluru over the past two decades.
In Gwalior, delighted to meet the pilots and officers in charge of the Mission PEGASE, which has projected a detachment of 3 Rafale combat jets, one Airbus A-400M military transport aircraft, one C-135 refuelling aircraft, and one Airbus A310 cargo aircraft (1/2) pic.twitter.com/2ZexT6Ykwh
— Alexandre Ziegler (@FranceinIndia) September 4, 2018
Earlier, at a multilateral exercise in Australia, France had deployed Atlas A400M military transport aircraft, a C-135 refuelling aircraft, and an Airbus A310 cargo aircraft, apart from the Rafale jets. The Indian contingent had participated with the Russian-designed Sukhoi 30 fighter jets.
Meanwhile, the row in India continues as the Opposition has called the Rafale deal signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 as a scam, "which has damaged the national interests".
The Centre is accused of deliberately abrogating the UPA-era deal with France in order to benefit Reliance Defence, which has been chosen as the maintenance partner by Dassault.
"Only one of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft will be supplied to India until the end of the contract period in April 2022. That will be 8 years after the deal signed. Emergency purchase did Modi ji claim? Emergency to help a friend maybe," questioned Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi on Sunday.