Indian Air Force Day

Indian Air Force Day: IAF has the largest number of female personnel

October 8, 2019

October 8 is celebrated as the ‘Indian Air Force Day’ across the country’s various air stations. Also called the ‘Bharatiya Vayu Sena Diwas’, the tradition of celebrating this day began in 1932 which is also the foundation year of this esteemed institution. Indian Air Force, headquartered in New Delhi has 1,70,000 serving personnel, making it the fourth largest Air Force in the world.

The Indian Air Force has an interesting history. Established in the pre-Independence era, the then Royal Indian Air Force was an auxiliary air force of the British Empire. Post independence in 1947, the Royal Indian Air Force started completely serving the Indian dominion. However, it was only three years later, in 1950, that the prefix ‘Royal’ was dropped from its name and it became what we know today as the Indian Air Force.

Its motto is ‘Nabh Sparsham Deeptam’, meaning touch the sky with glory. It is dedicated to safeguard the Indian airspace and working in conjunction with the other two branches of the Indian armed forces namely-Indian Army and Indian Navy.

The IAF holds a special distinction of being served by some of the bravest and most inspiring personalities in Indian history including Arjan Singh, the only Indian ever to be bestowed the highest rank of Marshal of Indian Air Force; Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee; and Sqn Ldr Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian in space, among many others.

Among the three forces, with 1,905 woman officers, IAF has the largest number of female personnel. In 2016, three young IAF officers- Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh began a new era in the armed forces by becoming the first batch of lady officers to be trained to become fighter pilots. Until then, this area was considered to be an entirely male bastion.

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