Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis (left) and his visiting South African counterpart, Lt-General R.J. Beukes, share a laugh with schoolgirls during a function to mark the Indian Air Force day in New Delhi
NEW DELHI, Oct 8 2000(taken from "The Tribune") —Tipnis for aero-space power. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis today stressed on the need for maintaining a deterrent posture specially under the new security dimension in the region.
Addressing the Air Force parade at the Palam Grounds to mark its 68th anniversary, the Air Chief said that Indian Air Force’s strategies and its operational concepts were also being reviewed constantly to meet all kinds of contingencies in future. While pointing out that our security concerns needed “unremitting vigilance”, he added that professional training and development of air warrior qualities were being strengthened to meet all future challenges.
Air Chief Marshal Tipnis also stressed on the need for early transition to aero-space power. “Under the new security dimension, we have to prepare for a smooth transition from air-power to aero-space power,” he said.
Asked whether aero-space programming was necessary in view of any threat perception, he told reporters this was not being done “keeping any front in mind”.
Asserting that aero-space would be a vital element of future planning, Air Chief Marshal Tipnis denied that after Kargil incursions there was any change in country’s air force strategy.
“Air force is inherently an offensive phenomenon. It is not that suddenly we are going offensive. We have to use the air power to be upfront. Of course, air defence is also an important component,” he said.
The Air Chief pointing to the need for modernisation of the fleet said, “fighter helicopters are being upgraded in avionics, systems and armaments. We are getting additions to Mirage-2000, Jaguar and Mi-17 fleets and the contract for the Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) is to be finalised shortly”.
The glittering ceremony was marked by synchronised aerobatics by nine trainer aircraft Suryakiran coming in varied formations at the same height and speed. The parade was attended by Chief of Naval Staff and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Sushil Kumar, Chief of Army Staff Gen S. Padmanabhan, Defence Secretary T.R. Prasad and senior officers from the three services.
Nine jet trainers alternately changed formations ranging from diamond to wine glass and even formed a replica of Sukhoi enthralling the capacity crowd including Chief of South African Air Force Lt-Gen R.J. Buekes, the chief guest on the occasion.
A special day cover was released to honour Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir, Flight LieutenantSubramaniam Muhilan, Sergeant PNVR Prasad and Sergeant R. Sahu, who were killed during the Kargil conflict.
Among the Air Force personnel decorated on the occasion were Kargil hero Flight Lieutenant Gaurav Chibber and Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir.
Flight Lieutenant Subramaniam Muhilan, Sergeant PNVR Prasad and Sergeant R Sahu were also honoured with Vayu Sena medals posthumously.
Squadron Leader Pundir’s medal was received by his sobbing widow. While Sergeant Sahu’s father received the medal for his son. The surviving Kargil hero Flight Lieutenant K. Nachiketa was honoured with the prestigious Vayu Sena medal.
Three MI-8 helicopters carrying the air force insignia flew past as the Air Chief took the salute at the ceremonial parade conducted by 57 officers, 377 airmen and 48 band personnel. The parade was commanded by the Group Captain Manmohan Sud of the Air Force Communication Squadron, Palam.
Air Force Chief's Commendations
Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis has commended the following officers, airman and civilians for their outstanding performance and devotion on the eve of Air Force Day.