‘Nabha Sparsham Deeptham’
This is the motto of the Indian Air Force, taken from the 11th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, which encompasses the discourse given by Lord Krishna to Arjuna during the heat of battle, on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
It means: Touch the Sky with Glory
If you live near our country’s capital, don’t forget to look up at the sky on October 8th every year (if you haven’t already!). You will get a glimpse of the aerobatic prowess of The Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (Surya Kiran is Sanskrit for Sun Rays) of the Indian Air Force as well as the towering and Herculean stance of our fighter aircraft including Jaguars, Sukhoi’s and Rafales during the celebration of the Indian Air Force Day. This year marks the 88th Indian Air Force Day.
The day intends to raise awareness about the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the courage, valor, and dedication of its soldiers to protect the country and to inspire everyone. As an organization, the IAF strives to strengthen national security and authority by securing the Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during armed conflict.
Providing support to the Indian Army on the battlefield as well as strategic and tactical airlift capabilities, The IAF works closely with the other Indian Armed Forces.
Began in 1932 as a force of six pilots and 19 airmen, it has had a meteoric rise to become one of the strongest forces in the 21st century. Today, it’s the fourth largest air force in the world.
Since 1950 the IAF has been involved in wars with neighboring Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the IAF include Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus, and Operation Poomalai to name a few.
Not just that, the IAF has also provided extensive assistance to relief operations during natural calamities such as the Gujarat cyclone in 1998, the tsunami in the south in 2004, and North India Floods in 2013. The IAF has also undertaken relief missions such as Operation Rainbow in Sri Lanka.
The IAF’s mission expands beyond engagement with hostile forces while participating in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The number of aircraft in the IAF has been dwindling from the late ’90s due to the retirement of older aircraft and several crashes. To deal with the depletion of force levels, modernization of its fleet has been undertaken by the IAFwhich includes both the upgrade of existing aircraft, equipment, and infrastructure as well as the induction of new aircraft and equipment, both Indian made and imported.
Thanking all our air force personnel on this day. Happy Indian Air Force Day 2020!
Did you know, Sachin Tendulkar was the first sportsperson and the first civilian without an aviation background to be awarded the honorary rank of group captain by the Indian Air Force.