On IAF Day, Rafale exhibits prowess; Chief addresses Indo-China tensions
On the 88th Indian Air Force Day today, the leading jets showcased their strength at a ceremony in Hindon station, that was attended by IAF Chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, CDS General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Mukund Naravane, and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh. The newly-inducted Rafale jets also took to the skies, impressing all attendees.
IAF got a major boost when the first five Rafale jets, out of the 36 that India has procured as a part of an inter-governmental deal with France, arrived earlier this year. The jets, tailored to meet IAF's demands, were formally inducted into IAF's Golden Squadron in September. On Thursday, the jets, for the first time, participated in IAF's ceremony.
On October 8, 1932, Air Force in India was raised as a supporting force of the UK's Royal Air Force. A year later, the first squadron became operational. After serving as Royal Indian Air Force for years, IAF got its name when India became a republic. Starting off with merely six officers and 19 Hawai Sepoys in 1933, IAF is now the fourth-largest globally.
Leading the country in thanking IAF for its glorious years of service were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh. "You not only keep the skies of the country safe but also play a leading role in the service of humanity in times of disaster," PM Modi tweeted about IAF. And President Kovind said the nation is indebted.
I am confident that the IAF will always guard the Nation's skies, come what may. Here's wishing you blue skies and happy landings always.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) October 8, 2020
At the ceremony, Chief RKS Bhadauria assured that IAF is committed to protecting the country's sovereignty. "As we enter the 89th year, the IAF is undergoing a transformational change. We are entering an era which will redefine where we employ aerospace power and conduct integrated multi-domain operations," he said. He also said the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic was firm.
As India remains locked with China in an eye-to-eye standoff along LAC, Bhadauria noted IAF's quick response was appreciable. "I commend all air warriors for quick response in the recent standoff on the northern frontiers when we deployed our combat assets at short notice to handle any eventuality and provided proactive support to all requirements of deployment and sustenance for Indian Army," he added.
Notably, France also extended greetings to IAF today, on its special day. In a tweet, French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain reminded of the partnership shared between both countries. "Congratulations @IAF_MCC on 88th Air Force Day2020! From Ouragan/Toofani in the 1950s to Mirage2000 and now Rafale, France has always partnered with the Indian Air Force! (sic)" Lenain wrote.