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Rajnath Singh is the first Defence Minister to fly homemade LCA Tejas

Wearing a G-suit, Rajnath Singh buckled himself into the light combat plane (LCA) Tejas in Bengaluru this morning, becoming the first Defence Minister to fly in the made-in-India fighter jet. The aircraft took off from the HAL airport in Bengaluru.

Mr Singh, 68, walked up to the plane along with the pilot, climbed up the steps and strapped himself in the backseat, behind the pilot. Wearing a white helmet and an  oxygen mask, the Defence Minister was seen waving before the twin-seater version of Tejas took off for a 30-minute sortie. He was briefed by the pilot and other top Indian Air Force (IAF) officials. Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari was among the officers who walked him up to the jet.

The Defence Minister “controlled the plane for sometime”, said Dr G Sathish Reddy, chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

“The flight very smooth and comfortable. I was thrilled. I chose Tejas since it is made indigenously,” Mr Singh said after the sortie. “Countries in South East Asia have shown interest in buying Tejas aircraft,” he added.

“All set for the day,” Mr Singh had tweeted earlier, sharing two photos.

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