For the first time, a Dassault Rafale fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) took part in the Republic Day celebrations in India. 

It was part of an "Eklavya" (Vic) formation along with four other aircraft of the IAF, namely two SEPECAT Jaguar attack aircraft and two MiG-29 fighters. The Rafale then concluded the flypast with a so-called "Vertical Charlie" maneuver.

India's Republic Day celebrates the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect, thus becoming a sovereign republic, on January 26, 1950.

The IAF formally inducted the Dassault Rafale fighter jet in the 17 Squadron 'Golden Arrows' at Air Force Station Ambala on September 10, 2020. An order for 36 aircraft was placed by India in 2016. Eight have been delivered so far.

Rafales of both the Indian and French Air Forces recently had the opportunity to train together for the first time as part of the Desert Knight 21 exercise, between January 20 and 24, 2021. Indian authorities and their French counterparts are reportedly discussing an arms contract that could include a second batch of 36 Rafales, as well as six A330 MRTT tankers and over a hundred AS565 Panther helicopters. 

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French and Indian Rafale fighters will fly together in the Desert Knight 21 exercise, one of the stops of the French Air Force’s “Skyros” campaign.