Hyderabad: The Ministry of Defence on 8 February said that the induction ceremony of Rafale fighter planes on 10 September 2020 at the Ambala Air Force Base cost around Rs 41.32 lakh including Rs 9.18 lakh of GST.

Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of Defence, Rajnath Singh said that, "New aircraft are traditionally inducted through a befitting ceremony. The first five Rafale aircraft of IAF were formally inducted on 10 September. The total expenditure of the event was Rs 41.32 lakh including Rs 9.18 lakh of GST."

Five of the 36 Rafales ordered by the IAF arrived at the Ambala airbase on 29 July. They were handed over to India in France in October 2019, but have since been used for training IAF pilots there.

India had ordered Rafale jets from France in a government-to-government deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016.

During the induction ceremony held on 10 September, Rajnath Singh, his French counterpart, Florence Parly and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria were present during the ceremony.

The defence minister during the ceremony said that induction of Rafale jets into the IAF is crucial considering the kind of atmosphere being created along India's border. "It is a strong message for the entire world, especially those eyeing India's sovereignty," he said.

These Rafale jets are part of the IAF's No 17 Squadron, also known as the 'Golden Arrows'. This is the first imported fighter to be inducted after the Sukhoi-30s came from Russia in the late 90s.

Upon India's request, France has speeded up deliveries of the Meteor Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile along with the first batch of jets. The second batch of four Rafales is expected to arrive in October.

The Defence Minister also informed the parliament that till now 11 Rafale jets have arrived in the country and by March-end the number will reach 17.

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