An Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent of four Rafale fighter jets, two C-17 Globemasters and 72 IAF personnel departed for Paris on Friday to participate in a fly-past there on July 14, which is celebrated as the Fete Nationale Française, the National Day of France. It is also known as the Bastille Day as this day is the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille in 1789 during the French Revolution.
It is also known as the Bastille Day as it marks the anniversary of storming of the Bastille in 1789 during the French Revolution.
IAF said the marching contingent is commanded by Squadron Leader Sindhu Reddy, who is an accomplished helicopter pilot. She has also extensively flown the Alouette-III helicopter in her service. The fly-past and marching by the IAF warriors on Bastille Day follows a long association that the two nations share, especially in the field of the air power, IAF added.
The Ministry of Defence apprised that France will witness a 269 member tri-services contingent of the Indian Armed Force marching alongside its French counterparts. This year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the Guest of Honour at the Bastille Day Parade.
The Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force will also form part of the fly-past during the parade.
Many Indians like Welinkar, Shivdev Singh, HC Dewan and Jumbo Majumdar have fought over the skies of France during the two World Wars. Some, like Jumbo Majumdar, were also decorated for their gallant action during the terminal phase of World War II, IAF said.
The Ministry of Defence said that the IAF has also operated multiple French aircraft starting with the Ouragan. This was followed by fighter aircraft like Breguet Alize, Mystere IVA, SEPECAT Jaguar, Mirage 2000 and now, the Rafale. Helicopters like the Alouette-III and Lama continue to render yeoman services to India, especially in the remote Himalayan areas.
The ministry said that the professional ties between the two air forces have also been strengthened during flying exercises like Ex Desert Knight, Garuda and Orion. The IAF’s Rafale aircraft, flying wing to wing with the FASF, is reflective of this strategic friendship spanning decades that continues to mature, both on the ground, as well as in the air