Pritam, who is from Tripura, felt that the recruitment rally is a golden opportunity for him to make a career in IAF. For others, being in the Air Force means you are where the action is and in the best situation to serve one’s motherland, with an unparalleled way of life and an environment, where the best in one comes out. Most of the youths are fresh out of school and wanted to utilize the opportunity as Air Force promises an exciting career.

Earlier similar rallies were conducted at Shillong, Kohima and Silchar not only with the aim to bring the opportunity of recruitment process for the youths from the region to their doorstep but also to show others that there is vast scope to make one’s career in the IAF. Wing Commander IVR Rao, Commanding Officer of IAF who is in-charge of the rally said the rally was exclusively for the youths of the northeast region as IAF identified the region as a low response area. He however, expressed his satisfaction over the participation and said that northeast youths are talented but due to less scope they can not always utilize their talent. Being in Air Force is about the thrill of seeing formations airborne, bonhomie with fellow colleagues and a deep sense of fulfillment at the end of the day they said.

On 1st April 1932, the Indian Air Force came into being and on 1st April 1954 Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee one of the founding members of the Air Force took over as the first Indian Chief of Air Staff. Then the IAF took off as a tiny fleet with four Westland Wapiti army co-operative by-planes, six RAF trained officers and 19 Hawai Sepoys but today it has grown to a strength of more than 1,30,000 personnel. It is the fourth largest Air Force in the world with a highly technical and specialised fighting force that safeguards Indian skies against enemy invasion. The IAF to motivate more youths performed an air show which was totally new to Agartalites. Scores of people gathered at the Dasharat Dev Stadium to witness the show which was taking place for the first time in the state. It is not every day, that one gets to see an aerobatics team in action. More specifically, to see Surya Kiran take to the skies one must consider oneself very lucky. Surya Kiran (which means “the sun’s rays” in Hindi) is the aerobatics demonstration team of the Indian Air Force that performed daredevil’ air shows in the Agartala skies. People were mesmerized by the formations and Indian Tricolors being etched on Agartala skies by the India’s ‘ Kiran MK II’ aircrafts. In certain formations distinctive day-glo-orange-and-white colour planes come within five metres of each others’ wingtips while maneuvering at speeds of between 200 and 600 kilometres per hour. The Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team was formed in 1996 to serve as the Ambassadors of the Indian Air Force and to showcase the professionalism, caliber and the mettle of the service. Surya Kiran occupies a rarefied place as one of the four prominent 9-aircraft aerobics team in the world. What makes them exceptional is the level of expertise required to fly in such large numbers so close together. The team has dazzled crowds over the length and breadth of India as well as other parts of the world, having performed in Burma, Sri Lanka, Singapore and recently at Malaysia. Natasha who came along with her family to see the show said that such shows help us to know that India is a strong nation and makes one feel proud of his nation. Moreover, it also helps youths to get motivated to join the force. Besides these, members of the India Air Force’s sky diving team “Akash Ganga” also performed acrobatics.

Wing Commander Kamal Singh, team leader of Akash Ganga said that the main reason behind organizing the show is to motivate the youths of this region to join the force. He added that he is confident of the fact that after witnessing the show some of the youths who were present there will come forward to join the Indian Air Force. The air show is part of a campaign to spread awareness about the IFA, which is not as strong in this region as it is in other parts of the country.

Chandana Bhowmik