The Indian Air Force (IAF) has now deployed recently acquired Rafale fighter jets close to China on the eastern front before the next round of military talks between both the countries, likely to be held soon.
The IAF has formally inducted eight Rafale aircraft into No. 101 Squadron –‘’Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’’ at Air Force Station Hasimara in Eastern Air Command (EAC) close to Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in West Bengal on 28 July. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said that the induction of Rafale had been carefully planned at Hasimara, keeping in mind the importance of strengthening IAF’s capability in the Eastern Sector, while presiding over the induction ceremony.
The Air Chief lauded the 101 Squadron and said with the unmatched potential of the newly inducted platform, the Squadron would dominate whenever and wherever required and ensure that the adversary would always be intimidated by their sheer presence.
101 Squadron is the second IAF Squadron being equipped with Rafale aircraft. The first Rafale squadron, the 17 `Golden Arrows’, is already operational at the Ambala airbase under Western Air Command, with its 18 fighter jets, which have been undertaking regular sorties in eastern Ladakh amid the ongoing military standoff with China.
India has so far received 26 Rafale jets and the remaining 10 of the total 36 aircraft are expected to arrive in batches before the deadline of April next year. The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on 29 July 2020, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. The multi-role Rafale jets, built by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are known for air superiority and precision strikes.