India is celebrating Air Force Day 2021 on October 8 as this day marked the foundation day of the Indian Air Force and was officially founded as a supporting force for the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom. It was in 1932, the country marked the raising day of IAF and marks 89 years since the foundation.
The Indian Air Force has participated in various wars and missions which include humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions during natural calamities. Air Force Day is celebrated at the Hindon base in the presence of the IAF chief, and senior officials of the three armed forces.
The Air Force was established in the country on October 8, 1932, by the British Empire and it is also known as ‘Bharatiya Vayu Sena’. The enactment of the Indian Air Force Act 1932 defined their auxiliary status and enforced the adoption of the Royal Air Force uniforms, badges, brevets, and insignia.
On 1 April 1933, the IAF commissioned its first squadron, No.1 Squadron, with four Westland Wapiti biplanes and five Indian pilots. However, the Indian Air Force became known as the Royal Indian Air Force after its participation in World War II.
Since 1950, IAF has been involved in four wars with Pakistan and one with China. Other major operations undertaken by the IAF include Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus, and Operation Poomalai. The IAF’s mission expands beyond engagement with hostile forces, as it takes part in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
Significance and Importance
IAF is important to India as it plays a vital role in the wars fought by the country. IAF conducts aerial activities during armed conflicts within nations and secures Indian airspace. Apart from safeguarding the Indian territory, IAF provides support during natural calamities in the country. Therefore, this day is celebrated to honor and commemorate the selfless efforts of our soldiers and the entire army.
The theme of IAF day in 2020 was “the untiring efforts and supreme sacrifices of its personnel”. Meanwhile, the country witnessed the theme of “know your Air Force” in 2019. This year, in 2021, IAF day pays tribute to the heroes of the 1971 war and includes formations with call signs related to the places and people involved in the war in which India conquered victory over Pakistan and led to the creation of Bangladesh. In 2021, the Indian Air Force conducted a Full Dress Rehearsal (FDR) of the Air Force Day celebrations on October 8.
Some interesting facts about IAF are:
- IAF is the fourth largest air force in the world after the US, Russia, and China with around 1, 70,000 personnel and 1,500 aircraft in the country’s station. IAF is considered the seventh strongest air force in the world.
- IAF’s Hindon Air Force Station, situated near Ghaziabad is the largest in Asia and 8th largest in the world and the air force employs over 1,400 aircraft and about 170,000 personnel.
- It has been a part of natural calamities like the Gujarat cyclone (1998), the tsunami (2004), and floods in North India. The relief operations were done with the help of IAF along with other forces of the country.
- IAF has included a significant number of women fighter pilots in it. It has women navigators and women officers who provide their services to the Indian Air Force. Even the Rafale fleet of the IAF has a woman fighter pilot.
- Moreover, IAF has a base in Tajikistan named Farkhor Airbase located in Farkhor, India’s first and only military base outside the country.