The government spent Rs 41 lakh for the induction ceremony of five Rafale jets that landed at the Ambala Air Force base on September 10, 2020, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Rajya Sabha on Monday. Of the entire sum, Rs 9.18 lakh was spent on GST, Singh added.
The first batch of the five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. The formal induction ceremony of the fleet had taken place nearly six weeks later.
"The first five Rafale aircraft of IAF were formally inducted into IAF on September 10. The arrangements for this event were made mostly through local resources of IAF. The total expenditure on the event was Rs 41.32 lakh including Rs 9.18 lakh of GST," he said.
Singh further said all new variant of aircraft are traditionally inducted into the Indian Air Force through a "befitting ceremony".
The Rafale induction ceremony was attended by French Defence Minister Florence Parly and the top echelon of the French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the aircraft.
A second batch of three Rafale jets arrived in India on November 3 while a third batch of another three jets joined the IAF on January 27.
The Rafale jets are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 year after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.
The fleet has been carrying out sorties in eastern Ladakh where Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a standoff for the last nine months.
The first squadron of the Rafale jets is stationed at the Ambala air base while the second one will be based at the Hasimara base in West Bengal.
(With PTI inputs)