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

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