XtraTime Web Desk: Indian cricket team’s former World Cup winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday heaps praise on Rafale jets inclusion into the Indian Air Force, saying the “potent bird’s lethality will only increase” in the hands of IAF pilots.
Even if so for a brief while, cricket was meant to take a back seat for the honourary lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Army, who holds dear anything that is related to the military.
An excited Dhoni promptly expressed his delight at five Rafale fighter jets being formally inducted into the 17 Squadron of the IAF at a glittering ceremony at the Ambala air base.
“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 tweeted.
The induction ceremony was attended by defence minister Rajnath Singh and France’ minister of the armed force Florence Parly.
Dhoni, who recently brought to an end his glorious international cricket career, wished the 17 Squadron luck.
“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.”
Dhoni, 39, is currently in Dubai and is preparing to lead his team Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League beginning on September 19. The event has been moved to the UAE because of the rising Covid-19 cases in India.
Before arriving in Ambala, France’s minister of armed forces received a ceremonial Guard of Honour at New Delhi.
IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) R.K.S. Bhadauria was also present at the induction ceremony.
This is the first imported fighter jet to be inducted into service since the Sukhoi-30s from Russia in the late ’90s.