NEW DELHI, Sep 10, 2020, India Today. Former India captain and honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army, MS Dhoni took to social media to express his delight at the formal induction of Rafale fighter jets into the Indian Air Force on Thursday. 5 Rafale jets were inducted into the Air Force’s Golden Arrows squadron at a ceremony in the Ambala airbase, India Today reported.
MS Dhoni heaped rich praise on the Indian Air Force, saying the ‘potent bird’s lethality’ will only increase as it gets the ‘world’s best fighter pilots’.
“With the Final Induction Ceremony the world’s best combat proven 4.5Gen fighter plane gets the world’s best fighter pilots. In the hands of our pilots and the mix of different aircrafts with the IAF the potent bird’s lethality will only increase,” Dhoni said in his rare social media post.
“Wishing The Glorious 17 Squadron(Golden Arrows) all the very best and for all of us hope the Rafale beats the service record of the Mirage 2000 but Su30MKI remains my fav and the boys get new target to dogfight with and wait for BVR engagement till their upgrade to Super Sukhoi.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, his French counterpart Florence Parly, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria were among the dignitaries who attended the IAF event.
A traditional ‘sarva dharma puja’, a ceremonial ‘water cannon salute’ to the Rafale jets and an aerial display featuring various breathtaking manoeuvres by the aircraft marked their induction into the 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ of the IAF.
The first batch of 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.
Ten Rafale jets have been delivered to India so far and five of them stayed back in France to impart training to IAF pilots.
MS Dhoni, who retired from international cricket on August 15, had trained with the Territorial Army for 2 months right after the 2019 World Cup.
Dhoni will be in action in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 as he makes his much-awaited competitive return after more than a year. Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings will take on defenidng champions Mumbai Indians in the opener on September 19 in Abu Dhabi.