Protecting India’s sovereignty and integrity will be ensured at any cost, Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari said on Thursday after taking charge as the chief of the Indian Air Force. He succeeded Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria following his retirement.
IMAGE: Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari takes charge as the chief of air staff in New Delhi, September 30, 2021. Photograph: ANI Photo
“Protection of our nation’s sovereignty and integrity is to be ensured at any cost,” the new IAF chief said.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari added that enhancement of operational capability through integration of newly inducted platforms, weapons and equipment with existing assets and dovetailing the same in the concepts of operations would remain a priority area.
In a brief address to the IAF personnel, he also spoke on acquisition of new technology, promotion of indigenisation and innovation, strengthening of cyber security and need for adopting new training methods to deal with future security challenges.
The chief of air staff also urged the IAF personnel to always uphold the ethos and credo of the ‘air warrior’ and strive to be an asset’ to the force in any role tasked for.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari was serving as vice chief of the air staff before assuming the new role.
Before becoming vice chief of the IAF, he was serving as commander-in-chief of the IAF’s western air command that looks after the security of India air space in the sensitive Ladakh sector as well as various other parts of north India.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF on December 29, 1982.
In a distinguished career spanning nearly 38 years, the officer has flown a wide variety of fighter and trainer aircraft in the inventory of the IAF.
He has a flying experience of more than 3,800 hours, including operational flying on MiG-21, MiG-23 MF, MiG 29 and Su-30 MKI fighter jets.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari held numerous important positions. He was the commanding officer of a frontline fighter squadron and has also commanded a frontline fighter base.
Apart from various operational issues, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari will have to also address matters related to the ambitious theaterisation model of the armed forces.
The theatre commands are being planned to integrate the capabilities of the three services and to ensure optimal utilisation of their resources.
The theatre commands are being set up under a larger mandate of ensuring synergy among the three service chiefs to deal with future security challenges.
Chief of defence staff Gen Bipin Rawat has been focusing on bringing convergence among the three services and restructuring military commands to effectively deal with future security challenges.
There has been a growing perception that the Indian Air Force has some reservations about the theaterisation programme.