Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Anil Chauhan on Sunday extended their wishes to air warriors and their families on the Air Force Day, with Singh saying that the IAF today is a “lethal and formidable force, projecting its air power beyond boundaries”.
Gen Chauhan in his message said this momentous occasion marks “nearly a century of unwavering dedication and unparalleled service” of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to the nation. Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who was conferred with an honorary Group Captain rank in 2010, also greeted the IAF personnel on the occasion.
Tendulkar posted a video message on X, donning the Air Force blues.
“On the occasion of the 91st anniversary of the Indian Air Force, I extend my congratulations to all personnel and families of the IAF. I thank the Indian Air Force for giving me an opportunity to don the blues,” he said in the video.
Tendulkar, a former captain of Team India, said he wears the uniform with great pride and honour and cherish being a part of the IAF.
“I felt the same way, each time I wore the blues, when I played for India. I thank each one of you, on behalf of a grateful nation for your service. I wish all of you a happy Air Force Day. Happy landings. Jai Hind!” Tendulkar said in his short video message.
The Indian Air Force was officially established on October 8, 1932. In view of its professional efficiency and achievements during World War II, the force was bestowed with the prefix “Royal” in March 1945. So, it became the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF).
In 1950, the IAF dropped its “Royal” prefix and amended the ensign as India became a Republic.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari on Sunday unveiled a new ensign of the IAF, replacing the existing one that was adopted more than seven decades back.
The IAF Chief released the new ensign at the 91st IAF Day celebrations in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj.
Defence Minister Singh extended greetings with a post on X.
“Greetings and warm wishes to all Indian Air Force personnel and their families on the occasion of the #91stAnniversary of this amazing force. We are proud of our #Airwarriors who play significant role in keeping India safe. The #IAF today is lethal and formidable force, projecting its air power beyond boundaries. #AFDay2023 @IAF_MCC,” he wrote.
CDS Gen Chauhan said this momentous occasion marks “nearly a century of unwavering dedication and unparalleled service of the IAF to the nation”.
“As we celebrate this milestone, we also pay homage to the bravehearts who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the nation. Their courage, valour and dedication continue to inspire generations of Indians,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the defence ministry.
“The IAF has played an important role in all wars fought by the country, undertaken punitive air strikes, extricated the Indian diaspora from conflict zones and provided relief through Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions within and beyond the borders,” the statement said.
The IAF has a rich history of regular and successful engagements in international air exercises with friendly countries. It has adequately demonstrated interoperability with global air forces, thereby credibly establishing its capability to operate effectively in our immediate neighbourhood and also in our extended environment, it said.
The IAF is poised to embrace the challenges of the 21st century, with a commitment to modernisation, innovation, and international cooperation. May the IAF reach new heights of glory always, he said.