Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday performed 'Shastra Puja' (worship of weapons) on the occasion of Dussehra after receiving the first of 36 Rafale jets in the French port city of Bordeaux. The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. It is a fully versatile aircraft which can carry out all combat aviation missions to achieve air superiority and air defence, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.
On receiving the first Rafale, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh marked religious symbol 'Om' on the aircraft, put a coconut and placed lemons ahead of its wheels to complete the traditional puja.
Rajnath Singh has been performing Shastra Puja for last several years including during his tenure as the Union Home Minister in the previous government.
India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. The first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India by May 2020. All 36 jets are expected to arrive in India by September 2022, for which the IAF has been reportedly undertaking preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots.