“A grateful nation salutes our valorous air warriors and their families on Air Force Day. They keep our skies safe and are at the forefront of serving humanity in times of disasters. Proud of the Indian Air Force!” PM Modi tweeted this morning.
It was eighty-six years ago from today when the exceptional IAF was established. The precise date was the 8th of October, circa 1932. Today, we celebrate the various feats of achievements and victories which the IAF has been able to perpetrate over these years. Being the fourth largest in the world, the IAF is only behind the ones belonging to the United States of America, Russia and China.
The Indian Air Force is celebrating its anniversary by showcasing it prowess and put its mainstream fighter jets on display. A grand parade-cum-investiture ceremony is being held at the Air Force Station at Hindon near Delhi.
The air displays at the Hindon air base began with flag-bearing sky divers of the famous Akash Ganga team dropping out of AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies. President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others wished the Indian Force.
The celebrations are being held in the shadow of the massive row over the Rafale fighter jet deal controversy. Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa had said it was a “very good package” for India and the jets would be a “game-changer”.
Let us celebrate the eighty sixth anniversary of the IAF by brushing up our knowledge regarding part of work which the IAF has been able to accomplish over these years:
1. Women Fighter Pilots
Leading by example has always remained a phrase to be affiliated with the IAF. A fresh chapter was written in the history of the IAF on the eighteenth of June of 2018. The first ever batch of women fighter pilots were commissioned at the Combined Graduation Parade at the Air Force Academy located at Dundigal. The historic batch consisted of the following three members: Mohana Singh, Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawana Kanth. Having remained at the helm of empowering women, the IAF had begun work to bring aboard women fighter pilots, the induction is certainly one of the most commendable feats of the IAF.
2. Operation Rahat
Another striking example of the marvelous feats which could be pulled off by the IAF is the remarkable feat of Operation Rahat. In the year of 2013, Uttara hand and Himachal Pradesh faced one of the worst forms of Mother Nature’s wrath in the form of a murderous flood. The IAF was able to carry out a rescue mission which turned out to be the largest ever of its kind to have been performed. Operation Rahat was the largest civilian rescue operation to have been carried out with the help of helicopters. An approximate cumulative of nineteen thousand and six hundred individuals were airlifted by the IAF. In totality, the number of sorties which were carried out at the time could be rounded off to being two thousand and hundred and forty. Relief matter and kits which was carried and dropped cumulatively weighed around three lakhs eighty-two thousand and four hundred kilos.
3. Kargil War (1999)
The performance shown at the Kargil War by the IAF is one of the most remarkable feats which has been showcased by the unit. By being able to adapt to unique situations to successfully aid them, the IAF played a role which is nothing less of critical during the war. Tackling enemy war fleets at an elevation of fourteen thousand to eighteen thousand feet with a challenging topography consisting of rocky terrains peppered with thick layers of snow to make things even worse, the IAF was able to perform remarkable well in such a unique environment.
4. World War II (1939-1945)
The IAF played a pivotal role in the manner in which the second World War had panned out. The very first IAF air strike was executed in order to halt the advancement of the Japanese forces from Burma. The carrying out of air strikes against Japan in Thailand was one of the major accomplishments of the IAF during the WWII. At the time, King George VI had conferred the IAF with the prefix “Royal” which thereafter made the IAF to be referred to as the Royal IAF. In 1950, once India became a republic, the prefix was dropped and reverted back to being named as the IAF.
5. Bangladesh Liberation War (1971)
Over the course of two weeks, the IAF had been able to carry out around twelve thousand sorties over the area of East Pakistan and was able to assist the Indian Army with close air support. The IAF also played a critical role in being able to assist the Indian Navy to be able to successfully carry out its operations. The Bangladesh Liberation War therefore, will always remain to be as one of the most brilliant successes by the IAF which the world has ever seen.
As the IAF reaches its eighty sixth anniversary, it only reminds us what the Force has been able to accomplish over these eons. The list above compromises of merely the tip of an iceberg amongst the plethora of achievements which the IAF has had. With coming years, we are certain that the Force shall bring in even more glory to the nation and shall lift every Indian’s heart with immense amount of pride and honor. The IAF is one of the advanced in the world and shall continue to lead by example in terms of value, work and performance.
We salute the IAF for their extraordinary service to the country!