The COVID-19 Novel Corona Virus Pandemic outbreak on one side, India has also been facing constant issues along the borders with our neighbours China, Pakistan and Nepal, for quite some time now! However, amidst the standoff with China intensifying, India's armed forces were boosted with the arrival of the first batch of five Rafale jets from the French manufacturer Dassault Aviation! As part of the 36 jet deal, the first 5 jets arrived in India on July 27th and were then formally inducted into the Indian Air Force with a glitzy ceremony in the third week of August! This came as a big boost to the morale of Indian military personnel with the 5 "Golden Arrows" becoming part of the 17th Squadron at the air base in Ambala!

We now hear that France has handed over the second batch of 5 Rafale jets to India. However, the jets are still on French soil and plans are on to bring them to India, soon! Speculation is that these jets would arrive in India, in October. Reports state that the second batch of Rafale jets would be deployed at the Kalaikunda Air Force Station, situated in West Bengal, which is part of the guard for the Easter border with China. Some media reports state that the French ambassador to India - Emmanuel Lenin had confirmed the handing over of the second batch of Rafale jets and is also said to have commended the pilots of the Indian Air Force, describing them as "excellent". We also hear that India has gotten a few modifications made on the Rafales, especially their capability to take off in the low temperatures which are prevalent along the Indo-China border. 

All this apart, there are some ripples in India with reports of France still not having transferred the technology as they had promised to deliver. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has said, "DRDO wanted to obtain Technical Assistance for the indigenous development of engine (Kaveri) for the Light Combat Aircraft. Till date, the Vendor has not confirmed the transfer of this technology." Controversy over the Rafale deal was raised by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi through a tweet, earlier. On a positive front, Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh has been named the Rafale Squadron's first woman pilot! Hailing from the religious town of Kashi, Shivangi Singh is all set to create history by piloting the multi-role aircraft, especially amidst rising tensions with China. Stay tuned for updates...