France has affirmed its commitment to deliver the fighter aircraft Rafale to India on time, despite global pandemic. The delivery though had to be postponed by two months because of COVID-19, confirms Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday.
He spoke to his French counterpart Florence Parly, discussing her ‘matters of mutual concern’. In a tweet today, he said, “Had a telephonic conversation with French Minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly today.”
We discussed matters of mutual concern including COVID-19 situation, regional security and agreed to strengthen the Bilateral Defence Cooperation between India and France.
“We also appreciated the efforts made by the Armed Forces of India and France in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. France has affirmed its commitment to ensure timely delivery of Rafale Aircraft despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
Notably, India received its first Rafale fighter jet last October, with the Defence Minister himself going to Paris to receive it. However, this jet, along with three other Rafale jets, will arrive in India by July-end after their delivery was delayed by two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today’s conversation between the Defence Minister and his French counterpart also comes in the backdrop of the ongoing India-China standoff in Ladakh. Last week, he had spoken to his US counterpart Mark Esper as well.
The first four Rafale fighter aircraft would start arriving in India by July-end this year from France.
The delivery of the aircraft was earlier supposed to have been done by May end but this was postponed by two months in view of the COVID-19 situation in both India and France.