Arup Raha assumes charge as IAF Chief
On January 1, 2014, Arup Raha, a veteran fighter pilot, assumed charge as the 24th chief of the Indian Air Force, succeeding Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne. Fifty-nineyear-old Raha took charge from Browne in the presence of senior officers, including the new Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal R.K. Sharma and Deputy Chief Air Marshal S. Sukumar.
Born on December 26, 1954, he will remain the IAF chief for three years. He was commissioned on December 14, 1974, in the fighter stream. In his illustrious career spanning 39 years, Raha has held various command, staff and instructional appointments. He has also served as Air Attaché at the Embassy of India in Ukraine. Besides various technical courses, Raha has done Strategic Nuclear Orientation Course and Junior Commanders’ course.
He has commanded the Central Air Command and the Western Air Command, besides serving as the Directing Staff at Flying Instructors School, Tambaram (Tamil Nadu) as well as at the Gwalior-based Tactics and Combat Development Establishment of the IAF.
On assuming charge, Air Chief Marshal Raha, said the IAF is on a trajectory of modernisation and is transforming into a strategic aerospace power with full spectrum capability.
“In this strategic transformation process, I expect sustained efforts and special attention from all air warriors to maintain high operational status of the legacy equipment, while operationalising the new inductions in a time-bound manner,” he said.
The Air Chief said the force will continue to support the maintenance of security forces deployed for counter-insurgency operations. “Sustained efforts in air maintenance in the northern and eastern sectors are being appreciated by the military, paramilitary, central agencies and state authorities.”
He said, “Accretion through new acquisitions, replacement of obsolete equipment with state-of-the-art inductions and upgrade of the vintage weapon platforms would bolster our capabilities. In-depth knowledge, proficiency and professional competence to harness the potential of new equipment would provide the necessary cutting-edge in discharging our onerous tasks.”
The IAF Chief commended the air warriors for their exceptional dedication and commitment during Operation Rahat in flood-hit Uttarakhand rescuing thousands of people and saving precious lives. “A record 3,702 sorties were flown while 24,260 people were airlifted to safety, despite the challenges imposed by inclement weather, difficult terrain, high altitude and unprepared helipads.”
The people of the force were its “most valuable assets. A strong, motivated and cohesive team is the key to our success. I exhort all air warriors to follow the fine traditions of this great service and ensure that we ‘Touch the Sky with Glory’.”
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha after assuming charge from his predecessor Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne on December 31, 2013