President Ram Nath Kovind at the Air Force Station, Sulur, Tamil Nadu, on Monday. Photo/ANI
President Ram Nath Kovind at the Air Force Station, Sulur, Tamil Nadu, on Monday. Photo/ANI

If needed, will use all our might to protect nation’s sovereignty: President Kovind

ANI | Updated: Mar 04, 2019 17:31 IST

Coimbatore (Tami Nadu) [India], Mar 4 (ANI): In view of the heightened tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of Pulwama terror attack and IAF’s subsequent air strikes at terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot, President Ramnath Kovind on Monday asserted that “in case the need arises,” “India will use all might to protect the nation’s sovereignty.”        
President Kovind, who was speaking at an event of the IAF here, said: “India’s growing stature in the comity of nations is consistent with the strength and capabilities of our armed forces.”
“India remains firmly committed to peace, but in case the need arises, we will use all our might to protect the nation’s sovereignty. Our armed forces, exemplified by our air warriors reflect our firm-resolve to defend our nation,” he said.
“Their (IAF) valour and professionalism was on display very recently, as the Indian Air Force carried out pre-emptive strikes on a known terrorist camp,” said President Kovind.
He was speaking after presenting colours to Air Force Station, Hakimpet and 5 Base Repair Depot, at the Air Force Station, Sulur. He said the IAF is in the process of a coming out with a very comprehensive modernisation plan.
President Kovind’s observation assumes significance after IAF on February 26 wee hours targetted the biggest terror training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) at Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The air strike was India’s reply to JeM’s debilitating terror attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama in south Kashmir on February 14 in which as many as 40 jawans were killed.
The subsequent soaring tension saw Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16 fighter planes, transgressing into the Indian sky, which were effectively chased away by IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, but his MiG-21 Bison was shot down by the PAF.
Wing Commander Varthaman safely ejected but landed in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) on February 27. Islamabad released the IAF pilot on March 1 night after India successfully mounted diplomatic pressure on Islamabad.
The President further said that besides safeguarding the sovereign skies of our nation, the IAF has also been at “the forefront of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations. The resilience and tenacity displayed by our valiant air warriors is a great source of pride for the nation.”
The award of President’s colours is one of the greatest honours bestowed upon an Air Force Unit in recognition of exceptional service rendered by it to the nation, both during a war and in peacetime.
Taking about two IAF stations to which the President’s color was awarded, Kovind said: “These two stations have a history of professionalism and excellence.”
“Numerous unique measurements adopted by 5BRD have effectively contributed to the enhancement of the organisation’s potential. They have truly epitomised their motto 'Kayakalp' (complete transformation) with continuous rejuvenation through enforcement of new ideas and technology development,” he said.
He lauded Hakimpet Air Force Station for its contribution during 1965 and 1971 wars. He also said this Air Force Station has been providing training to the women helicopter pilots since 1995 and the women fighter pilot since 2016.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, and veterans of the IAF were also present on the occasion. (ANI)