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RKS Bhadauria Takes Charge As New Indian Air Force Chief

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 30, Sep 2019, 14:39 pm IST | UPDATED: 18, Oct 2019, 17:55 pm IST

RKS Bhadauria Takes Charge As New Indian Air Force Chief Delhi: Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria took charge as the 26th chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday. Bhadauria, who was the Vice Chief of Air Staff (VCAS), has now succeeded Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, who retired after 41 years of service in the IAF. Bhadauria was appointed as the new chief of IAF earlier in the month by the government. His term will last for two years.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Bhadauria was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1980 and won the coveted ‘Sword of Honour’ for standing first in the overall order of merit. He has held various command, staff and instructional positions.

During his nearly four-decade career, Bhadauria commanded a Jaguar squadron and a premier Air Force Station. He also has 4,250 hours of flying experience on 26 types of fighters and transport aircraft.

Bhadauria served as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Southern Air Command from 1 March 2017, succeeding Air Marshal Sunderraman Neelakantan, to 1 August 2018. He also served as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Training Command from 1 August 2018 after retirement of Air Marshal S R K Nair, and held the office till his elevation to the Vice Chief of the Air Staff.

During 39 years of his career, Bhadauria has been awarded several medals: the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (January 2013), the Vayu Sena Medal (January 2002) and the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (January 2018). He was appointed honorary Aide De Campe to the President of India on January 2019.

After taking charge, Bhadauria spoke on Rafale and said that the combat aircraft will give India an edge over Pakistan and China. "Rafale is a very capable aircraft. It will be a game changer in our operational capability. It will give India an edge over Pakistan and China," ANI quoted him as saying.

On being asked if IAF is better prepared to carry out another Balakot like strike in future, Bhadauria said, "We were prepared then, we will be prepared next time. We will be ready to face any challenge, any threat."

On the reports of Pakistan reactivating Balakot terror camps, the Chief of Air Staff said, "We are aware of the reports and we will take necessary action as and when required."