The 83rd Anniversary of the Indian Air Force was celebrated with zeal and fervour at the Headquarters AOC J&K located at Udhampur. Air Vice Marshal Upkarjit Singh, Air Officer Commanding J&K administered the Air Force pledge to all the Air Warriors during the parade conducted there. Similar pledge-taking ceremonies were also conducted at all the Air Force Stations in J&K (Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Udhampur, Awantipur, Thoise and Kargil). Congratulatory messages from the President of India, Vice President, Prime Minister, Raksha Mantri, Raksha Rajya Mantri, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Air Command and AOC J&K were read out to all personnel during these parades.
In keeping with the Air Force ethos and traditions, wreath laying ceremonies were carried out at the war memorials in Srinagar by Air Commodore MY Marathe and in Jammu by Air Commodore Ashutosh Lal. Commemorative ceremonies for felicitating and interacting with Air Veterans; and ‘Barakhana’ with Air warriors and families were the highlights over the preceding week. These were also undertaken at Leh and Kargil under stewardship of Air Commodore B Manikantan. In these forums, the Station Commanders, including Group Captain JVS Guron at Thoise, Group Captain Manish Singh at Udhampur and Group Captain Sucharu Rai at Awantipur, urged all the personnel to maintain the highest order of professional competence, impeccable conduct and military bearing. All the Commanders emphasised the need to remain ever vigilant towards ensuring safety and security of our vital assets in this challenging area of responsibility.
Within J&K, the IAF gets called upon very regularly towards undertaking rescue and relief operations during flash floods and inclement weather in the prevalent difficult terrain. Operation Megh Rahat in Jammu & Kashmir and Operation Phutkal in Ladakh are recent examples of close liaison for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.AOC J&K further laid great emphasis on the jointmanship and synergy with Indian Army formations, various security forces and the Local State Govt and Civil Administration in J&K. The massive air maintenance effort conducted every year by IAF in the Himalayan region is indeed imperative for the regular sustenance and highest morale of our deployed armed and security forces.While concluding the Air Force Day celebrations, AOC J&K urged all the units and air warriors to be fully prepared to handle even greater challenges during the impending transformational journey of the IAF, and especially so in this challenging region.