Arup Raha takes over as 24th IAF chief

New Delhi, Dec.31 : Air Marshal Arup Raha on Tuesday took over as the 24th chief of air staff, succeeding Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne.

Born on December 26, 1954, he is expected to have tenure of three years as IAF chief .

Commissioned on December 14, 1974 in the fighter stream of the IAF, Raha has held various command, staff and instructional appointments in his 39-year-long career.

He served as Air Attache at the Embassy of India in Ukraine and as Directing Staff at Flying Instructors School, Tambaram, and at the Gwalior-based Tactics and Combat Development Establishment of the IAF.

In a message sent out to Air Warriors soon after assuming charge, Air Chief Marshal Raha said: " I feel honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with the responsibility to lead one of the finest air forces in the world. The IAF is on a trajectory of modernisation and is transforming into a strategic aerospace power with full spectrum capability."

He said that he expected the men and women of the Indian Air Force to continue with their sustained effort and special attention to maintain the high operational status of the "legacy equipment, while operationalising the new inductions in a time bound manner."

"This would obviously be achieved through exemplary leadership at all levels of the IAF," he added.

He made a special mention about the role played by the Indian Air Force during "Operation Rahat" in flood-hit Uttarakhand, which he described as the largest ever humanitarian assistance and disaster relief helicopter operation.

"A record 3702 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. Our professionalism and grit has earned accolades from all quarters, not only in India but from abroad as well," he said.

"High operational preparedness and successful conduct of various exercises in India and abroad have reinforced our professional reputation as a formidable force. We need to continue to work with great synergy and vigour in meeting all challenging tasks during the year ahead," he added.

"IAF is committed to providing vital support for our security forces deployed in counter-insurgency operations. Sustained efforts in air maintenance in the northern and eastern sectors are being appreciated by the military, para-military, central agencies and state authorities," Air Chief Marshal Raha said.

He further stated that, "Our people are our 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'"

Air Chief Marshal Raha has nearly 3,400 hours of flying experience, mainly on fighter aircraft, to his credit.

An alumnus of Defence Services Staff College(DSSC) and the National Defence College, New Delhi, he has functioned as an inspector in the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection in Air Headquarters and as Staff Officer to the Chief of the Air Staff.

He has also held many operational assignments such as Command of a MiG-29 Squadron, Bhatinda in Punjab during 'OP PARAKRAM', Adampur and Advance Headquarters Western Air Command, Chandimandir.

He has also served as the Deputy Commandant at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal,Hyderabad, Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) at Headquarters Western Air Command and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Central Air Command(CAC)and Western Air Command(WAC).

He took over as the Vice Chief of the Air Staff(VCAS) on July 1, 2013.

Air Chief Marshal Raha is a recipient of Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vayu Sena Medal. He was appointed as Honourary Aide De Camp (Air) to the President of India wef December 1, 2012.

He is married to Lily Raha and has two children. He is an avid reader and a keen golfer who enjoys travelling.

--ANI (Posted on 31-12-2013)

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