President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday hailed the Corps of Army Air Defence as force multipliers in hostile conditions and asked its men to strive for excellence to keep the nation’s dignity.
President Kovind was speaking after presenting the President’s Colours to the Corps of Army Air Defence at the Army Air Defence Centre at Gopalpur in Odisha’s Ganjam district.
The President’s Colours was received by the Army Air Defence Centre on behalf of the Corps of Army Air Defence at Gopalpur Military Station here.
The President’s Colours is the highest honour bestowed upon a regiment in recognition of their contribution to the security of the nation, he said.
The programme was attended among others by Army chief General Bipin Rawat, Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal and Union Petroleum and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Speaking at the programme, the president said “You have been true force multipliers in the most inhospitable terrain and climatic conditions in the world. I take this opportunity to convey my best wishes to All Ranks and families of the entire Air Defence fraternity”.
Paying homage to the martyrs of the Corps, President Kovind said their sacrifice has “secured our sovereignty, brought glory to our nation and protected our people”.
He congratulated all veterans and serving soldiers of the Corps for their “stupendous” performance.
“The Indian armed forces in general and the Corps of Army Air Defence in particular have a glorious legacy in protecting the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the nation,” President Kovind, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces, said.
“We have taken a solemn vow to defend the sovereignty of our country against all odds. I am confident that we will fulfill this vow and keep the dignity of our nation and our people intact, whatever be the cost. That is what the Colours signify,” he said.
The President exhorted the uniformed men to carry it with pride and strive for excellence in all endeavours.
While highlighting the achievements of the air defence corps, the President hailed the role played by the defence forces in keeping the country’s frontiers secure.
He said the Corps of Army Air Defence was carved from Regiment of Artillery on January 10, 1994 but its history dates back to World War II, when its troops fought gallantly in Myanmar called Burma in those days, Malaya, Bahrain, Singapore, Iraq and Persia.
Post-independence, the Air Defence Regiments fought gallantly during the liberation of Goa. During the India-China War of 1962, the efforts made to provide robust Air Defence cover in affected north-eastern regions are also worth mentioning.
The Air Defence Gunners destroyed a number of enemy aircraft during Indo-Pak War of 1965 and 1971 and provided effective air defence protection. Soldiers of Army Air Defence also made significant contribution in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the north east.
Since Independence, the Corps of Army Air Defence has been bestowed with several gallantry honours including two Ashoka Chakras. During the 1971 Indo-Pak War four units of the Corps were decorated with Honour Titles for their distinguished performance and steadfastness in battle.
The Corps lives by its regimental motto which means ‘Kill the enemy in the sky’, he said adding “May you walk farther and farther on the path of success.”
President Kovind was presented the Rashtriya Salute at a parade during the programme.
The president, who was on a two-day visit to Odisha, had arrived here along with his wife Savita Kovind on Friday.
Spread over 2,700 acres, the Army Air Defence Centre here is the training school for the personnel of the Air Defence Corps of the Army.