The history of 8th October in India is mainly related to the Indian Air Force (IAF), which was officially established on this day in 1932¹. The IAF is the fourth largest air force in the world and has a proud history of defending the nation’s sovereignty and interests. Here are some of the highlights of the IAF’s history on 8th October:
- In 1932, the IAF was raised as an auxiliary air force of the Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom, with six RAF-trained officers and 19 airmen. The first operational squadron, No. 1 Squadron, was formed in April 1933 with four Westland Wapiti biplanes¹.
- In 1945, after the end of World War II, the IAF was renamed as the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF), as a recognition of its service and contribution to the Allied war effort. The RIAF participated in several operations, such as the Burma Campaign, the Arakan Campaign, and the Invasion of Malaya¹.
- In 1950, after India became a republic, the prefix ‘Royal’ was dropped, and the IAF became an independent air arm of the Indian Armed Forces. The IAF played a vital role in the wars with Pakistan in 1947-48, 1965, 1971, and 1999, as well as in the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and the Kargil War of 1999¹.
- In 1984, the IAF conducted Operation Meghdoot, which was the capture of the Siachen Glacier in the disputed Kashmir region. The IAF airlifted troops and supplies to the world’s highest battlefield, overcoming harsh weather and enemy fire¹.
- In 1988, the IAF conducted Operation Cactus, which was the rescue of the Maldivian government from a coup attempt by armed mercenaries. The IAF deployed paratroopers and helicopters to secure the capital city of Male and capture the rebels¹.
- In 1999, the IAF conducted Operation Safed Sagar, which was the air campaign during the Kargil War with Pakistan. The IAF carried out airstrikes against enemy positions and supply lines in the mountainous terrain, while facing hostile fire from surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns¹.
- In 2023, the IAF celebrated its 91st anniversary with a grand parade and air show at Hindon Air Force Station near Delhi. The IAF showcased its modern and indigenous aircraft, such as the Rafale, Tejas, Sukhoi-30MKI, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-29, MiG-21 Bison, Chinook, Apache, C-17 Globemaster III, C-130J Super Hercules, AWACS, and UAVs²³.
The IAF is one of the most important days in October for India, as it honours the bravery, commitment, and professionalism of the men and women in blue who safeguard the nation’s airspace. The IAF’s motto is ‘Nabhaḥ Spr̥śaṁ Dīptam’, which means ‘Touching the Sky with Glory’⁴.
Source: Conversation with Bing, 8/10/2023