Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the Indian Air Force (IAF) Heritage Centre in Chandigarh on May 8, 2023. The Centre, an embodiment of IAF's rich history and legacy, houses a collection of artefacts, murals and 3D dioramas, showcasing the evolution of the force since its inception. It displays the heroic deeds of the IAF and the country's technological progress in aircraft/equipment.
One of the highlights of the Centre is the array of simulators that allows visitors to replicate the thrill of flying iconic aircraft in the IAF's inventory and gives them a chance to get a taste of what it feels to be a pilot. The Centre, now open to the public, also houses enclosures dedicated to the war campaigns in which IAF had participated. These provide a unique opportunity for visitors to learn about the crucial role the IAF has played in defending the nation.
In his address after the inauguration, the Defence Minister termed the Heritage Centre as a testament to the courage and dedication of all those who have served in the IAF; a tribute to their sacrifice and a reminder of their invaluable contribution in protecting the nation. He recalled the contribution of the IAF in the 1948 war, Goa Liberation War of 1961, 1962, 1965, 1971 & Kargil wars, which showcased the force's strength, commitment and professionalism.
On the 1971 war, Rajnath Singh stated that the jointmanship, integration and commitment showcased by the three Services during the war was unprecedented and extraordinary. He said, the war was not fought for any land or power, but for humanity and democracy. "It was a proof that India believes in 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere' and it is our duty to stand against any kind of injustice. Winning the war on the strength of our strategies and not imposing any kind of political control there symbolised India's strengths as well as its values and cultural generosity," he said, adding that the Centre will be a reflection of this valour and commitment.
The Defence Minister further asserted that the Centre will serve as a source of inspiration for the future generations. "The IAF has a rich heritage and it is our responsibility to preserve and showcase it. This centre will become an important means of preserving the history of the IAF and motivating the youth to imbibe the values of the Armed Forces," he said.
Governor of Punjab & Administrator of Chandigarh Banwarilal Purohit and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari were among those present on the occasion.