First French fighter jets head to India after purchase

PARIS (HRNW) – The first five of a batch of French Rafale fighter jets purchased by New Delhi in a controversial multibillion-dollar deal headed to India on Monday for rapid deployment amid rising tensions with China.

The deal, estimated to be worth $9.4 billion, has been overshadowed by corruption allegations levelled by the opposition Congress party although Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rejected the claims.

The jets built by Dassault Aviation — and piloted by officers from the Indian Air Force (IAF) — took off from Merignac in southwest France, the company said in a statement.

By Wednesday, they should be at Ambala air base in northern India, some 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the Pakistani and Chinese borders.


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