Thu, Dec 8, 2016 | updated 11:32 AM IST

Red Arrows participation in IAF Day exciting example of strength India-UK defence ties, says envoy

Updated: Oct 06, 2016 13:57 IST

By Ashok Dixit

New Delhi [India], Oct.6 (ANI): Welcoming the participation of the British Royal Air Force's world-renowned aerobatics team, The Red Arrows, in this year's Indian Air Force Day celebrations on October 8, the United Kingdom's High Commissioner, Sir Dominic Asquith, described it as a "tangible and visually exciting example of the historical strength of the defence relationship between his country and India.

Addressing a gathering at a reception hosted for "The Red Arrows" at his residence in the national capital on Wednesday evening, High Commissioner Asquith said, "I welcome the Red Arrows. You will remember the Reds I am sure from last year when they painted London's sky in the famous colours of India's Tiranga (Indian flag) in honour of Prime Minister Modi's visit and indeed of the friendship between our two countries."

He said that the United Kingdom sees the participation of The Red Arrows in the 84th IAF Day as an immense privilege.

"An indeed, you could not find a more visible and a more tangible and visually exciting example of the historical strength of our defence relationship..The Red Arrows also represent a major part of our country's future..the aircraft flown by the Red Arrows is a striking symbol of the great spirit of collaboration between the United Kingdom and India," he added.

High Commissioner Asquith further said that, "The United Kingdom has been 'Making in India' for years. The British designed Hawk aircraft being jointly developed in Bengaluru by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and BAE Systems is one of the great examples. A 123 aircrafts have been ordered by the Indian Air Force and the Navy."

"The United Kingdom understands and really gets what Make in India is about. It gets it better in my view better that in any other country because Make in India is more than just assembling the parts here. It is British and Indians from companies, from institutes and universities who collaborate across many disciplines and industries and they bring their minds together to innovate, to design, to improve the skills and to develop that cutting edge technology," he added.

"That fast breadth of this partnership is going to be on display at the India and UK Tech Summit which takes place in Delhi from 7-9 of November. This tech summit is going to bring together businesses, government and thought leaders, star speakers from both our countries and our determination is to find new exciting opportunities to deliver jobs, to deliver prosperity for people in India and Britain," High Commissioner Asquith said.

"We going to have robots, we going to have a Mars Lander, we are going to have cutting edge cars, life changing digital health care apps, we are going to have smart cities zone and we even going to have a little robot from a galaxy long ago and far-far away. The tech summit is going to be like nothing else we have never done in India," he added.

Talking specifically about the "Red Arrows, Air Vice Marshal Andrew Turner said that only a small part of the entire team was in New Delhi.

"We left the U.K a week ago; we will be going to Shanghai in China. We will be routing through Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, eventually Hong Kong, back through Bangkok and back to here through Hyderabad, Bangalore and on into the Middle East, in Muscat, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and then home to United Kingdom by the third of December. It's a very long tour. It will include a huge number of major public events and a global logistic system that the Formula One teams would be truly proud of," he said.

"But, we wanted to come here at Delhi, as our very first public performance on this overseas tour of this very first tour to connect with our partnerships with the Indian Air Force, been so strong for many years. The Indian Air Force has been both a cradle and birth place of much of the British Royal Force. It's been a very gallant part of our past . and we will continue to be the key partner in a strategically vital part of the world," Air Vice Marshal Turner added.

He informed that a majority of the Red Arrows team has link with India.

"I spent a year of my time in DSSC in Wellington Staff College down in Tamil Nadu, as indeed Timona Hans here, as indeed Richard Prattle who is representing Standard Chartered, as indeed Dave Bentley the Air Commodore of flying training, as indeed Marshal Greg Bagwell who headed the Royal Air Force operational department until three or four months ago. The Royal Air Force today, its fighting edge echelons, its leading entities, is made in India and it will continue to be so with the new students coming out of the NDC in Delhi and a rich cohorts of the graduated out of Wellington over the last 10 years, and we will continue to connect with you in that way," he said.

He said the tour is not just about the Royal Air Force, but about Great Britain connecting with the world.

"This is Britain extending its arms outwards with the best of British. This is great British excellence. This is us projecting ourselves across the world to connect with the important capitals of the globe in today's business community with partnerships that we have struck in the U.K. to help develop our own prosperity and build our nations and partnerships overseas with those people we want to be close to for the next 100 years. India is the first destination in this tour. It will be an enormously important partner for extremely long time," Air Marshal Turner said.

"This is great great British excellence at its best, leaning forward to help our partners around the world to make money, be prosperous and make the world a safer place," he said

The Red Arrows fly the Hawk aircraft, which is both a British and now Indian success story.

India has purchased 123 Hawks to date, 99 of which have been built under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, using parts supplied by BAE Systems and engines supplied by Rolls Royce.

More than 600 IAF pilots have been trained so far on the Hawk 132 AJT and the first batch of the three Indian women fighter pilots is being trained at present on the Hawk.

The Red Arrows will help showcase teamwork, engineering excellence and the best of British in advanced manufacturing and aerospace shortly before the first ever India-UK TECH Summit which takes place in New Delhi from 7-9 November.

During their visit to India, the Red Arrows crews will also visit schools and universities to talk about hi-tech education and training opportunities in the UK.

The visit to India is part of a major 60-day tour of the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions by the Red Arrows.

Upon returning from their Far East part of the tour in November, the Red Arrows are planning to deliver further aerial displays in Hyderabad and Bangalore.

It is team's biggest overseas tour in a decade.

More than 20 displays and a series of flypasts will be performed by the Red Arrows.

The deployment will contribute to the UK government's GREAT campaign.

The team - flying British-built aircraft - has displayed to millions of people in more than 55 countries around the world.

Officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows team consists of nine display pilots and more than 100 support personnel and technicians.

One of the world's premier aerobatic teams, the Red Arrows had performed more than 4,700 displays by the start of 2016 - the team's 52nd season. Flying Hawk T1 jets, the team is based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. (ANI)