The Honourable President of India and the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces, Shri Pranab Mukherjee awarded the prestigious Presidential Colours to 28 Equipment Depot and Presidential Standard to 119 Helicopter Unit at a ceremonial parade, held at Air Force Station Jamnagar on 04 March 16. The Air Officer Commanding of 28 Equipment Depot, Air Commodore NR Chitnis and Commanding Officer of 119 Helicopter Unit, Wing Commander Suseem Siwach received the President Colours and Standard respectively.
Indian Air Force's operational squadrons become eligible for award of Presidential Standard after completion of 18 years of service to the Nation. The selection is based on the unit's performance and achievements during peace as well as hostilities. The honour is an acknowledgement of the meritorious service rendered by the units.
A ceremonial parade was held to mark the occasion, which was commanded by Group Captain S Chauhan, Chief Operations officer, Air Force Station Jamnagar. The President also released First Day covers of 28 Equipment Depot and 119 Helicopter Unit at the function. There was a spectacular display of precision and dare devilry by the Air Warrior Drill Team and fly-past consisting of Jaguar, Mi-17 V5 and Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team which mesmerised the audience. The breathtaking fly-past was synchronized with significant events of the parade. The centre of attraction for the entire ceremony was an impressive display of the ALH Sarang display team in their attractive colours which enthralled the gathering.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Pranab Mukherjee expressed confidence that our armed forces would rise to the occasion whenever called upon and always keep the country's flag flying high. He also said that the professional excellence, grit and determination exhibited by both the units over the years is highly commendable. He complimented all the personnel and families of 28 Equipment Depot and 119 Helicopter Unit and wished them continued success in their future endeavours.
Interacting with media after the function, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Chief of the Air Staff 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 inductors and up gradation 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 the long term planning of the IAF would ensure that the men and women in blue continue to achieve greater level of professional skills and capabilities. He stated that the challenge for IAF is to manage the fast-paced changes effectively, without compromising on the high operational Standards.
The Governor of Gujarat, Raksha Mantri, Raksha Rajya Mantri, and Defence Secretary, Senior Govt Officials from Gujarat administration along with other senior Defence and Civilian dignitaries were present on the occasion. From the IAF, in addition to Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Air Marshal RK Dhir. AOC-in-C, SWAC, AOC-in-C Maintenance Command, Commodore Commandant of the 119 HU, AF, Air Cmde Mohan Gupta also attended the function.