New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will on Tuesday perform 'Shastra Puja' (worship of weapons) on the occasion of Dussehra in Paris on a day he will also receive the first Rafale fighter jet for the Indian Air Force, a defence ministry official said Sunday.
Singh is leaving for Paris on Monday on a three-day visit with the centrepiece of the trip being the formal handover of the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets to India on Tuesday.
Tuesday is also foundation day of the Indian Air Force.
'Shastra Puja' is traditionally performed to worship weapons and it has been part of Dussehra celebrations in several parts of the country.
"The defence minister will perform the Shastra Puja in Paris on the occasion of Dussehra. He has been doing it for last several years including as Union Home Minister," said a ministry official.
“On 8 October morning, Rajnath Singh will meet Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic," the official said.
“Later, defence minister will participate in the Rafale fighter aircraft handing over ceremony at Merignac along with French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly."
After receiving the aircraft, the defence minister will take a sortie in the aircraft from a French airbase in Paris, the defence ministry official said.
Afterwards, Singh will take part in the annual defence dialogue with Parly.
On 9 October, Singh will address the CEOs of the French defence industry during which he is expected to urge them to participate in 'Make in India' programme of the Indian government as well as the DefExpo to be held in Lucknow in February, the official said.
India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around ₹58,000 crore.
The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons and missiles.
The IAF has already completed preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots, to welcome the fighter aircraft.
The first squadron of the Rafale aircraft will be deployed at Ambala air force station, considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF around 200 kilometres from the India- Pakistan border.
The second squadron of Rafale will be stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal.