Large gatherings are banned and security has been tightened near the Ambala Air Force Station in Haryana where the first five of a batch of French Rafale fighter jets will make a touchdown this afternoon. Shooting of videos and photography has also been banned near the air base, officials said on Tuesday. The roads around the air base – located about 200 km from the border with Pakistan – have been sealed.
The five Rafale jets took off from France on Monday, covered a distance of nearly 7,000 km with air-to-air refuelling and had a single stop at a French airbase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Section 144, which prohibits assembly of four or more people, has been imposed in the villages near the air base, including Dhulkot, Baldev Nagar, Garnala and Panjkhora,” Deputy Commissioner Ashok Sharma was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Shooting of videos or taking photographs around the air base and nearby areas will remain “strictly prohibited”, he added.
Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on Tuesday said Ambala police have taken all the necessary measures.
Chief of Air Staff RKS Bhadauria will be at the airbase to receive the Rafale jets, the first tranche of the 36 planes bought by India from France in a Rs 59,000-crore inter-governmental deal in 2016.
The Rafale fighter jets are capable of carrying a range of highly effective weapons, including the Meteor air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile.
“Delivery of ten aircraft has been completed on schedule. Five will stay back in France for training Mission. The delivery of all thirty six aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021,” the Indian embassy in France said in a statement on Monday.