President Pranab Mukherjee today said a strong deterrent is needed against those who want to adversely affect India’s progress and security in view of the ever changing geo-political situation in the region. He also honoured a helicopter unit for its meritorious works, including its stellar role in confining terrorists to a restricted area during the last year’s terror attack on Pathankot Air Force Station.
“India is a responsible and emerging power in a multipolar, multilateral world. The ever changing socio- economic and geo-political scenario in our region of influence demands a strong deterrent against those with nefarious designs to affect the progress, prosperity and security of our nation,” Mukherjee said.
Apart from providing deterrence against inimical entities, both external and internal, the armed forces have been at the forefront of providing succour to the citizens during natural calamities, he said.
“The operations by the Indian Air Force during floods in Uttarakhand, Kashmir Valley and Tamil Nadu deserve a special mention and will always be remembered by the entire nation.
“The relentless and selfless operations showcase the fortitude and determination of its gallant air warriors,” Mukherjee said.
He was speaking after awarding the President’s ‘Standard’ to 125 Helicopter Squadron and ‘Colours’ to Mechanical Training Institute at the Tambaram air base, one of the oldest establishments of the Indian Air Force, near here.
The awards of Standard and Colours are given to a unit for its meritorious service. The 125 Helicopter Squadron (Gladiators) since its formation in November 1983 has enhanced its operational capability over the years and earned accolades for its valour and strike capabilities when deployed internally as well as abroad.
When deployed under the United Nations flag in Sierra Leone, the Gladiators were instrumental in securing the release of 232 captured Indian Army personnel.
In January 2016, the Squadron played a stellar role in confining the terrorists to a restricted area during the Pathankot terror attack, thereby reducing casualties, the President said.
The Mechanical Training Institute at Air Force Station Tambaram is the oldest technical training institute of the force.
Raised in 1935, the institute has undergone changes in locations as well as in nomenclature over the years and was rechristened as Mechanical Training Institute in 1980.
The unit imparts fundamental technical training in aircraft maintenance and servicing to the young recruits in mechanical aviation trades.
The tradesmen are the backbone of the maintenance arm of the IAF, ensuring its operational capability and effectiveness.