Flights of Glory
Two big changes in India have left us anticipating.
One, the 25th Chief of the Air Staff of India, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa PVSM, AVSM, YSM, VM, ADC handed over charge as the Chief of the Indian Air Force to Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria on 30 September 2019.
Two, Indian diplomat Navdeep Suri’s tweet, “Looking forward to life as a private citizen after 36 years as a diplomat. Cairo, Damascus, Washington DC, Dar es Salaam, London, Johannesburg, Cairo, Canberra, Abu Dhabi. It’s been a privilege to represent our country, serve our people”.
Suri is the grandson of acclaimed Punjabi novelist and poet, Nanak Singh, and has also translated his classic Punjabi novels, published by Penguin as The Watchmaker and by Harper Collins as A Life Incomplete.
Serving as the Indian High Commissioner to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2016, in year 2019 he was conferred with the Order of Zayeed II, the second highest civilian honour in the UAE, by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in recognition of his efforts and his contribution to the development and strengthening of friendly relations and cooperation between the two friendly countries. Pavan Kumar will succeed Navdeep Suri as the new Ambassador to the UAE.
On the other hand, the 25th Chief of the Air Staff of India, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa PVSM, AVSM, YSM, VM, ADC handed over charge as the Chief of the Indian Air Force to Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria on 30 September 2019. He was appointed as the Chief of Staff of the Indian Air Force by the Government of India on 17 December 2016.
When India’s air strike on Balakot took place in February 2019, it was he who was leading the Indian Air Force. He retired after serving the Indian Air Force for 41 long years. We wish him and his family all the best for the future and hope Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria keeps the banners of the Indian Air Force flying high.
We wonder what adventure life holds for the outgoing chief next. We haven’t forgotten PM Narendra Modi’s announcement of 15 August 2019 for India to have a “Chief of Defence Staff who will integrate the operations of the three forces-the Army, Navy and Air Force”.