The cornerstone of India’s Defence policy was “effective deterrence” for which the maintenance of a force that can be called upon at any time to secure the sovereignty of the country was needed and the country’s armed forces symbolised this capability, according to President Pranab Mukherjee.
He said the Air Force of even some of the most advanced nations had marvelled at the technical and tactical capability of the Indian Air Force. That they had been chosen to be a part of UN peacekeeping missions was a “testimony to your capabilities, discipline and excellence”.
The President, who was presenting the Presidential Standards to 25 Squadron and 33 Squadron of the IAF at Sulur Air Force Station near here on Tuesday, said they had rendered distinguished service to the country since their inception.
He said their personnel, both past and present, had set the highest standards in pursuit of excellence and for “their selfless devotion, professionalism and courage in the face of adversity”, the nation honoured them today.
Pranab said the IAF had grown into “one of the most powerful and professional forces in the world”, capable of facing any threat to national integrity and its operational capability constituted an “important cutting edge” of the nation's military strength.
It also aided humanitarian efforts during natural disasters both inside and outside the country and reminded the relief supplies IAF had flown in 2005 to the US when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, and in 2008, when it flew relief supplies to earthquake-hit South-western province of Sichuan in China.
The President said the 25 Squadron ‘The Himalayan Eagles’, had been the “lifeline of the armed forces, personnel and citizens in different parts of the country and the unit had truly been living up to its motto of ‘Excellence through Diligence’. The 33 Squadron, which is a premier transport squadron of the IAF, had played a stellar role in the 1965 and 1971 wars and during IPKF’s operations in Sri Lanka in 1989.
Lauding it for living up to its motto of “Hard Work Leads to Achievement”, he expressed confidence that it will continue to attain greater heights of glory in the future.
The Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah and Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, Chief of the Air Staff, were present at the function.