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“The development on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh is a small snapshot of what we are required to handle at a short notice”, said the Chief of the Air Staff.
|The Author is Former Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Training Command, IAF
On Saturday, June 20 this year, while addressing the Combined Graduation Parade at the Air Force Academy at Dundigal, as the Reviewing Officer, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Indian Air Force (IAF), delivered a morale boosting speech to the flight cadets passing out on completion of their pre-commission training that is indeed rigorous.
A Combined Graduation Parade is held at the Air Force Academy every six months to mark the entry of young men and women as commissioned officers into the flying as well as all other ground duty branches of the IAF. Under normal circumstances, this land mark event is witnessed by the parents and guardians of the passing out flight cadets as well. However, this year, quite unfortunately, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the paralysis gripping the nation, the parents and guardians of the flight cadets passing out were deprived of this privilege. Consequently the Combined Graduation Parade on June 20, 2020, in which 123 air warriors including 19 women, received the President’s Commission, turned out to be a relatively low key affair.
The Combined Graduation Parade included presentation of ‘Wings’ and ‘Brevets’ to the Flight Cadets who successfully completed Flying and Navigation training respectively. Apart from the trainee officers of the IAF, there were 11 officers of the Indian Navy as well as of the Indian Coast Guard who had undergone flying training at the Air Force Academy along with the Air Forcecadets, were also presented with ‘Wings’ by the Reviewing Officer, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria. The award of ‘Wings’ or ‘Brevets’ represents a significant milestone in every military aviator’s career and is the successful completion of a demanding but nevertheless a rewarding period of the training.
However, as the Combined Graduation Parade was held in the background of the present military confrontation with China that the nation is going through and the enormous challenges that lie ahead for both the political and military leadership, the speech by the Reviewing Officer added a new dimension to the perspective of the graduating flight cadets and the challenges they would be confronted with while serving as commissioned officers in the flying as well as other branches of the IAF.
The CAS rightly availed of this opportunity to put the fresh entrants joining the service in the right frame of mind and level of motivation.
The Combined Graduation Parade began soon after 0800 hours with a general salute followed by other activities such as inspection of the parade by the CAS and the oath-taking ceremony involving the trainees. The parade was followed by aerial display by a variety of aircraft of the IAF including the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team. In his address delivered at the end of the Combined Graduation Parade, the Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria said “ It should be very clear that the Indian Air Force is well prepared and has a strong determination to deliver. The elements of the Indian Air Force required for operations in the militarily escalating situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), are suitably deployed to respond to any contingency”. The CAS added that the IAF will never let the supreme sacrifice by the Indian forces in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh to go in vain.
“The security scenario in our region mandates that our armed forces remain prepared and vigilant at all times. The development on the LAC in Ladakh is a small snapshot of what we are required to handle at a short notice”. The gallant actions of our soldiers in a highly challenging situation, who lost their lives during the confrontation with the Chinese forces, have amply demonstrated the resolve to protect the sovereignty of our nation at any cost and the country will always strive towards maintaining peace”, the CAS asserted. “In spite of the unacceptable action by China after agreements were reached during military talks and the resulting loss of lives, all efforts are underway to ensure that the current situation at LAC is resolved peacefully,” the CAS went on to say.
Normally, the speech delivered by the Reviewing Officer at the Combined Graduation Parade is of a general nature and does not focus on any single issue. This time however, the context was somewhat different as the threat to national security from the hostile neighbour appears more real than ever before. The CAS rightly availed of this opportunity to put the fresh entrants in the right frame of mind and motivation to join the service in facing the challenges that lie ahead for the nation as well as the Indian Air Force.