Weeks after the terror strike at Pulwama that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel and the counter-attack by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on a major terror base in Pakistan’s Balakot, President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said that India remained firmly committed to peace but will use its might to protect its sovereignty if the need arose.
“I am confident that our valiant men and women in uniform will rise to the occasion. Our armed forces, exemplified by the air warriors who stand before us, reflect our firm resolve to defend our nation. This valour and professionalism was on display very recently, as the IAF carried out pre-emptive strikes on a known terrorist camp,” said Mr. Kovind at Sulur in Air Force Station, near Coimbatore.
Mr. Kovind accorded the President’s Colours to two units of the IAF — 5 Base Repair Depot (BRD), Sulur Air Force Station, and Air Force Station, Hakimpet.
The President said the IAF had been at the forefront of all humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations besides safeguarding the sovereign skies of the nation. “The resilience and tenacity displayed by our valiant air warriors is a great source of pride for the nation,” he noted.
‘Make in India’ campaign
Lauding 5 BRD for its efforts towards ‘Make in India’ campaign, he said it epitomised its motto ‘Kaya Kalp’, complete transformation, by its expertise in overhauling Kiran and Dornier aircraft.
Mr. Kovind also lauded the Hakimpet Air Force Station for its contribution in the wars with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. He pointed that the unit was offering quality training to women helicopter pilots from 1995 and women fighter pilots from 2016.
The President reviewed a parade presented by 583 Air Warriors from 5 BRD, Hakimpet Air Force Station and Sulur Air Force Station.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa and senior officers of the IAF took part in the ceremony.
An ‘Akash Ganga’ parachute team, a ‘Sarang’ helicopter acrobatic display team, a Tejas squadron and the Air Force Band displayed their skills at the ceremony.