Indian Air Force Marks Its 91st Anniversary with Historic Celebrations

Indian Air Force Marks Its 91st Anniversary with Historic Celebrations
Indian Air Force Marks Its 91st Anniversary with Historic Celebrations

The Indian Air Force (IAF) marked a momentous milestone as it celebrated its 91st anniversary at the Bamrauli Air Force Station in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. This significant occasion was distinguished by several historic occurrences, including the unveiling of a new IAF ensign by Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari, the inclusion of the Air Force crest, and a trailblazing moment featuring Group Captain Shaliza Dhami, the first woman officer to command the Air Force Day Parade.

A striking element of the festivities was the introduction of the new IAF ensign, where the notable change involved the addition of the Air Force crest, now proudly gracing the top right corner of the ensign, towards the fly side. This symbolic addition reaffirms the IAF’s unwavering commitment to its identity and rich heritage.

Group Captain Shaliza Dhami etched her name in history as she assumed the commanding role of the Air Force Day Parade. Her exemplary leadership and dedication not only shattered gender barriers but also ignited a new wave of inspiration for women aspiring to serve in the IAF. Her presence at the helm marked a significant stride in the IAF’s journey toward inclusivity and equal opportunities.

Another remarkable first was the participation of the all-women contingent, Agniveer Vayu, who marched shoulder-to-shoulder with their male counterparts. Their unwavering determination, discipline, and dedication were on full display, underscoring the IAF’s commitment to gender diversity and the relentless pursuit of excellence.

The parade also paid tribute to the Garud Commandos, the elite special forces of the IAF, who made their inaugural appearance. With two decades of commendable service to the nation, their inclusion in the celebration was a fitting acknowledgment of their steadfast commitment to safeguarding the nation’s interests.

The awe-inspiring air display along the banks of the Triveni Sangam featured a dazzling array of 108 IAF aircraft, including ALH Dhruv helicopters from the Indian Army and a P-8I aircraft from the Indian Navy. The display was further enhanced by the spectacular performances of the IAF’s renowned display teams, the Surya Kiran and the Sarang, showcasing their precision and skill.

In a poignant moment, the newly-inducted C-295 transport aircraft made its debut appearance in an Indian air display. Simultaneously, the iconic MiG-21 Bison took a poignant bow in the air display, as plans for its phased retirement by 2025 are in motion, symbolizing the IAF’s evolving fleet and modernization endeavors.

In his address, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari emphasized the imperative for the IAF to adapt to the evolving dynamics of air power. He urged his personnel to embrace innovation and transformation, emphasizing the IAF’s need to be “future-ready.” Highlighting the importance of integrating air, space, cyber, and ground capabilities to dominate the modern battlespace, he articulated a vision for the IAF to be among the best by its centenary in 2032, aligning with India’s aspiration to become a developed nation by 2047. He stressed that innovation must become an integral aspect of the IAF’s identity, involving the development of unique tactics, realistic training, and the incorporation of valuable lessons learned.