customer and has been flying Dassault aircraft since 1953. The acquisition contract for 36 Rafale — signed in 2016 — and the modernisation of the Mirage 2000 I/TI are a continuation of this historic partnership,” Dassault Aviation said in a statement.

The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006 and is said to have proven its worth in combat in war zones such as Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria.

The Rafale jets intended for India are expected to come with certain bespoke modifications for the IAF and have been awaited as a crucial enhancement to India’s Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft fleet.

The first Rafale jet will come with tail number RB 001, with RB denoting the initials of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria who played a key role in striking the deal for the jets in his previous role as IAF deputy chief.

In his statement on arrival, Mr. Singh noted that India’s “special relationship” with France goes far beyond the realm of formal ties.