President Pranab Mukherjee has said that India is always prepared to deploy its military might to safeguard its sovereignty, even though it is firmly committed to peace.
“India’s increasing eminence in the comity of nations draws its strength from the capabilities of our armed forces. Though we remain firmly committed to peace, we will use all our might to protect the sovereignty of the nation. I am confident that our valiant men and women in uniform will rise to the occasion,” the President said while honouring two IAF fighter aircraft squadrons at a strategic border airbase in Hasimara in West Bengal.
President Mukherjee, who is also the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces, presented the President’s Standards to the 22nd and 18th Squadrons of the Indian Air Force who operate the strike and combat superior MiG-27 aircraft. The aircraft secures the Indian skies along the east during peace as well as war.
The Squadrons are based in Alipurduar district of West Bengal, strategically located right across the India-Bhutan border with the task to keep a vigil over the entire north east border skies of India. These Squadrons are the first IAF responders in case of any offensive from the eastern front where apart from others, China is the predominant Indian neighbour.
The President lauded the Air Force by calling it the “cutting edge” of India’s military might and praised its men and women.
The armed forces are “exemplified by the air warriors who stand before us, reflect our steely resolve to defend our interests,” said the President.
President Mukherjee also praised the IAF’s role in carrying out numerous humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations especially, during the Uttarakhand floods in 2013 and the earthquake that struck Nepal in April this year.
The President’s Standards are given to Armed Forces’ units which render exceptional and dedicated service over a period of time. Both these units which were honoured have been rendering their services for the past 50 years and they played an important role during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and other senior Air Force officers were present at the event along with state government officials.
(With inputs from PTI)