Review of the Indian Air Force

I was invited by Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh DFC, to attend the Review of the Indian Air Force by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, at Chandigarh. Now, you know, an invitation the only five-star Field Marshal of the Indian Air Force is an order, even for a civilian like me. I have the highest degree of respect and regard for the person I think of as an examplar.


There I was, on March 7, formally attired, as required. What a wonderful day it was as we sat and enjoyed a fabulous air show. It has been 31 years since the IAF had been reviewed by the President, who is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces. The IAF is commemorating its Platinum Jubilee which falls on October 8, this year.

The day started early and the first highlight was a para-drop by 75 skydivers. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, lead from the front. Then the dignitaries arrived, including the Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh DFC, and his wife Teji, and the Naval Chief.

The scientist in President Kalam was much in evidence as he spoke about the modernising of the force and the kind of weapons and other state-of-the-art platforms that would be needed for it. He reviewed the IAF fleet and took the salute from the parade. There was an impressive fly-past in which practically all kinds of aircraft of the IAF took part. Three Mi-17 helicopters that flew the Tricolour and the IAF flag. 17 Jaguars forming the figure of ’75’. A rescue was staged, a mid-air refuelling done, and the Sukhoi multipurpose aircraft demonstrated its capabilities.

The two most-thrilling performances were by the Sarang Helicopter and Surya Kiran aerobatic teams.

After the event came a tea with the dignitaries, and a brief handshake with the President, who remembered the biography I had written of Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh DFC!

What a memorable day it was. I am posting some of the pictures that I took on the occasion so that you too can share the excitement that I felt.

I have published three major articles on Marshal of Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh DFC and written a short biography on him. Please click here to read my interview with him and the articles on him. You can click here to read more about the biography:

Back at the controls
This interview was published in The Tribune on Sunday, February 17, 2002

Marshal’s magnificent gesture
On how the Marshal is an examplar

For the sake of honour
On when the Marshal was awarded an Honris Causa degree