Air Force Day 2019: IAF chief RKS Bhadauria recalls success of Balakot airstrike, awards citations to squadron which led counter-terror op

Army Chief Bipin Rawat, Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, paid their tributes at the National War Memorial.

FP Staff October 08, 2019 11:45:46 IST
Air Force Day 2019: IAF chief RKS Bhadauria recalls success of Balakot airstrike, awards citations to squadron which led counter-terror op
  • Army Chief Bipin Rawat, Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, paid their tributes at the National War Memorial.

  • Two squadrons of the Indian Air Force which played a role in the Balakot airstrikes on terrorist camps in February, were decorated with citations at the Hindon base in Ghaziabad by Bhadauria.

  • Every year, the Air Force Day is celebrated at Hindon base in presence of the IAF chief and senior officials of the three armed forces.

The Indian Air Force, on Tuesday, celebrated the 87th foundation day with a grand event and traditional flypast and military drill exercises at display at the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad.

Established on 8 October 1932, and the force has participated in several crucial wars and landmark missions. On IAF's 87th foundation day, the chiefs of three services, army chief Bipin Rawat, Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, paid their tributes to the martyrs from the force at the National War Memorial.

Newly appointed IAF chief RKS Bhadauria addressed the forces and recalled the success of India's airstrike on a terror camp in Balakot.

Two squadrons of the Indian Air Force — the 51 Squadron and the 9 Squadron — which played a role in the Balakot airstrikes in February, were decorated with citations at the Hindon base by Bhadauria.

Air Force Day 2019 IAF chief RKS Bhadauria recalls success of Balakot airstrike awards citations to squadron which led counterterror op

Chiefs of three services, Army Chief Bipin Rawat, Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh during Air Force Day 2019. ANI

The IAF chief also addressed a press conference on the special occasion and said that the strategic relevance of Balakot air strikes is the resolve of the political leadership to punish the perpetrators of terrorism.

"There is a major shift in the government's way of handling terrorist attacks," he added.

Stressing that the present security environment in the neighbourhood is a case of serious concern, the air chief said Pulwama attack is a stark reminder of the persistent threat to defence installations.

"On 26 February this year, the IAF successfully struck terrorist camps located at Balakot. On the next day, the IAF successfully thwarted Pakistan Air Force's attempts to attack our military establishments. In the aerial engagement that followed we shot down a PAF F-16 fighter aircraft and lost a MiG-21," Bhadauria added.

IAF jets struck at a JeM camp in Pakistan's Balakot on 26 February earlier this year, days after a terror attack on CRPF convoy in Jammu Kashmir's Pulwama which claimed the lives of around 40 CRPF personnel.

During the address, he also said, "The Indian Air Force is grateful for the nation's trust, confidence and support. On behalf of all air warriors, I assure the nation of our sacred resolve, defending the sovereignty of our skies and safeguarding our national interest at all cost."

Indian Air Force's display at the event:

The Indian Air Force conducted various events for the foundation day, including flypasts and aerial displays.

The air display commenced with flag bearing skydivers of the famous Akash Ganga team dropping out of an AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies. The flypast included vintage and modern transport aircraft and frontline fighters.

The ceremony concluded with a spell-binding aerobatic display.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who shot down a PAF F-16, after Pakistan's retaliatory incursion of Indian airspace following Balakot incident, also flew a MiG-21 Bison aircraft over Air Force Day parade.

Three Mirage 2000 aircraft and two Su-30MKI fighter aircraft also flew in 'Avenger formation'. The planes were flown by pilots who took part in the Balakot airstrike.

With inputs from agencies.

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