NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday formally inducted the second squadron of Rafale jets at West Bengal's Hasimara airbase in Eastern Air Command (EAC).
The 101 Squadron is the second IAF squadron to be equipped with the Rafale fighters. In September last year, the Rafale aircraft were inducted into the 17 "Golden Arrows" Squadron.
Addressing the personnel at the air force station, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said the induction of the Rafale jets at Hasimara was carefully planned, keeping in mind the importance of strengthening the IAF's capability in the eastern sector.
Bhadauria said he has no doubt that the squadron would dominate whenever and wherever required, and ensure that the adversary would always be intimidated by its sheer presence.
"The IAF formally inducted Rafale aircraft into No.101 Squadron at Air Force Station Hasimara in Eastern Air Command on July 28," an IAF statement said.
Air chief Bhadauria said: "The induction of Rafales had been carefully planned at Hasimara keeping in mind the importance of strengthening IAF's capability in the Eastern Sector.”
“I have no doubt that the Squadron would dominate whenever and wherever required and ensure that the adversary would always be intimidated by their sheer presence,” he added.
He recalled the glorious history of the 101 Squadron, which earned it the title of "Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor".
India and China have been locked in a border standoff in eastern Ladakh since May last year. In the northeast, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh share borders with China.
The induction event included a fly-past heralding the arrival of the Rafale aircraft at Hasimara, followed by a traditional water-cannon salute, according to a statement issued by the IAF.
India has so far received 26 of the 36 Rafale aircraft it has ordered from French firm Dassault Aviation, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
"CAS urged the personnel to combine their zeal and commitment with the unmatched potential of the newly-inducted platform (Rafale)," the IAF said.
The multi-role Rafale jets, built by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are known for air superiority and precision strikes.
The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, 2020, nearly four years after the country signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.