The Indian Air Force is celebrating its 86th anniversary today when it will showcase it prowess and put its mainstream fighter jets on display. A grand parade-cum-investiture ceremony is being held at the Air Force Station at Hindon near Delhi.
The air display at the Hindon air base began with flag-bearing sky divers of the famous Akash Ganga team dropping out of AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies. President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others wished the Indian Force.
"A grateful nation salutes our valorous air warriors and their families on Air Force Day. They keep our skies safe and are at the forefront of serving humanity in times of disasters. Proud of the Indian Air Force!" PM Modi tweeted this morning.
The parade will be followed by an air display and acrobatics by the Air Force's various aircraft, including Jaguar, Bison, MiG-29, Mirage-2000 and SU-30 MKI fighter jets and Rudra helicopters.
In a first, a vintage Dakota aircraft that served the Air Force for over 40 years will be displayed as part of the celebrations at Hindon. The Dakota DC-3 aircraft of 1940 was used till 1988. It was one of the most versatile transport aircraft of its time. Tiger Moth and Harvard vintage jets will also be there.
The Indian Air Force came into force in 1932 as the Royal Indian Air Force under then British rule. The name was changed to Indian Air Force in 1950.
The celebrations are being held in the shadow of the massive row over the Rafale fighter jet deal controversy. Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa had said it was a "very good package" for India and the jets would be a "game-changer".
Last week, India signed a $5-billion deal with Russia to acquire S-400 Triumf, arguably the world's most lethal surface-to-air missile system, from Russia when the country's president Vladimir Putin was in New Delhi.
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