Jodhpur, The President of India and the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces, Shri Pranab Mukherjee awarded the prestigious Presidential Standard to 21 Squadron and 116 Helicopter Unit, during a grand ceremonial parade, held at Air Force Station Jodhpur this morning.  The Commanding Officer of 21 Squadron Wing Commander AK Budhwar and Commanding Officer of 116 Helicopter Unit Wing Commander VS Rao received the Presidential Standard.

            Speaking on the occasion, Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that while embarking on the path of economic progress, it is essential to preserve peace, for which effective deterrence is necessary.  He expressed confidence that our armed forces will rise to the occasion and keep the country’s flag high, when the need arises.  He also said that professional excellence, grit and determination exhibited by the both units over the years is highly commendable and he complimented all the personnel and families of 21 Squadron and 116 Helicopter Unit and wished them continued success in their future endeavours.

           Kalyan Singh, The Governor of Rajasthan, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal SS Soman, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Air Command and Air Marshal BS Dhanoa, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief South Western Air Command, Shri Gajendra Singh Khimsar, Minister of Industries, Rajasthan along with other senior Defence and Civilian dignitaries were present on the occasion.

           A ceremonial parade was held to mark the occasion, which was commanded by Group Captain Raman Goyal.  The President also released the First Day Covers of 21 Squadron and 116 Helicopter Unit at the function.  There was a spectacular display of a precision and daredevilry by the Air Warrior Drill Team and fly-past consisting of Mi-17, MiG21 and Su 30 which regaled the audience.  The breathtaking fly-past was synchronized with significant events of the parade.  The main attractions of the ceremony were an impressive display of Low Level Aerobatics by single Su-30MKI aircraft and performance by the Sarang Helicopter Aerobatic display team which enthused the gathering.

            Interacting with media after the function, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said that Indian Air Force is on a trajectory of modernization and is transforming into a strategic aerospace power with full-spectrum capability.  Accretion through new acquisitions, replacement of obsolete equipment with state-of-the art inductions and upgradation of vintage weapon platforms would definitely go a long way in enhancing IAF capabilities.  Induction and speedy operationalisation of IAF’s new assets and aircraft have afforded unprecedented response capabilities.  He also emphasized that IAF is strategizing and planning consistently for future so that the men and women in blue can perform as brilliantly as they have done in past.  He stated that the challenge for IAF is to manage the fast-paced change effectively, without compromising on the high Operational Standards.
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