Thursday, May 10, 2018

President Kovind becomes 1st President of India to visit Siachen in 14 Yrs

President Kovind becomes first President of India to visit Siachen in 14 years; addresses soldiers posted there; says every Indian is grateful to them and stands by them and their families.

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, visited Siachen Base Camp today (May 10, 2018) and addressed the soldiers posted there. He also visited the Kumar Post. President Kovind is the second President of India to visit Siachen. The previous visit was undertaken by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in April 2004. This makes President Kovind the first President to travel to Siachen in 14 years.
Addressing the soldiers today, President Kovind said that as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and as the President of India, he has come among them carrying the gratitude of the entire country. The President noted that Siachen is the world’s highest battlefield and it is difficult to live even a normal life in the extreme climate. In such a situation, it is extraordinary for soldiers to stay in a state of constant mobilisation and combat readiness. Their determination and dedication is worthy of the highest praise – and their allegiance to the defence of India is an ideal for all our fellow citizens.

The bravery and valour of soldiers deployed in Siachen over the past 34 years, the President said, has given every Indian the confidence that our borders are safe and secure. The President said he had come to Siachen to iterate to the troops posted here that all citizens of India and the Government of India were always with them and supportive of their families.

The President also paid his respects at the Siachen War Memorial, which is a symbol of the sacrifice of 11,000 soldiers and officers who have been martyred since the Indian Army began Operation Meghdoot on the Siachen Glacier on April 13, 1984.

First ever online selection of Airmen by the  IAF 

In yet another first, the IAF successfully conducted its first online selection test for airmen from 03 to 06 May 18. Taking forward the Digital India Initiative of the Government of India, the first ever Scheduled Test for Airmen Recruitment (STAR) was conducted successfully through computer based online tests in collaboration with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) Pune, a Government of India organisation functioning under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. This is the first instance of any of the three services undertaking selection tests online. This makes it easier for candidates across the country to appear for selection accommodating a wider choice of candidates, without having to apply an early filtration necessary in the earlier selection process.
A total of 409169 candidates had registered for the online STAR examination for Airmen. The online examination was successfully conducted at 439 centres spread over 102 cities across the country. This included over 100 centres in the North Eastern states, J&K and states which have limited representation in the IAF. Over 80% of the candidates were allotted centres of their first choice. 320678 candidates (78.37%) out of those who had registered appeared for the online test.
In the earlier manual pattern of tests, despite the IAF receiving over 4 lakh applications, owing to the limitations of testing capacity at the Airmen Selection Centres, only 80000 to 1 lakh candidates could be called to undergo the written test. Candidates were therefore screened out based on their Class 12 marks, thus denying opportunity to otherwise eligible candidates. In the online test format, all eligible candidates applying for STAR would be tested at examination centres closest to their place of residence. This would imply a near eight fold increase in the number of candidates who would be tested annually. The IAF stands to gain from the larger pool of candidates to choose from, while offering a level playing field to all eligible candidates.
The initiative is part of the Air Headquarters policy to reach out to the best talent to man and service the technology intensive platforms that equip the IAF. Apart from increased transparency and cost reduction, the initiative will help the IAF reach out to the youth in remote corners of the country and help them participate in the selection. Being the first of its kind initiative, the conduct of the examination was closely monitored by the highest echelons of Air Headquarters and Command Headquarters. Hon’ble Raksha Mantri and Chief of the Air Staff complimented the team involved in planning and executing the online tests in collaboration with CDAC, in ensuring that the entire process was executed without any glitch. It is a major milestone that would set a new benchmark for providing a fair opportunity to deserving youth from the remote corners of the country to join the IAF.

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