New Delhi, July 29th 2020: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted a video of the first set of Rafale aircraft landing on Indian soil with a Sanskrit phrase where he welcomed their arrival and connected it to “rashtra rakshaa” or national defence.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also retweeted it. Interestingly, the BJP had used the same Sanskrit phrase with an additional statement in English that read, “A Terror Free Resurgent India”, in a tweet from its official handle last year in February when the Rafale purchase issue had created a massive political storm ahead of the 2019 general election. The party had also used the hashtag, ‘For the first time’, as a dig at previous governments, back then.
The Sanskrit phrase talks about “rashtra raksha” or national defence. If loosely translated, it means, “I don’t see any ‘punya’, ‘vrat’ or ‘yagya’ like that of a nation’s defence”.
The first five of the 36 medium multi-role Rafale fighter jets being built by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault landed safely at the IAF airbase in Ambala on Wednesday afternoon. Significantly, the frontline IAF airbase is likely to be used in case of a conflict at the northern or the western borders.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a tweet, “The Birds have landed safely in Ambala.”
Of the two squadrons of the Rafale fighters, one would be based in Ambala for the western borders with Pakistan, while the second squadron would be based at Hasimara in West Bengal. It will be dedicated for the China border where Indian and Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops are engaged in a border standoff, which left 20 Indian and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers dead following a bloody clash on June 15.