Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria has succeeded Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa to become the 26th chief of the Indian Air Force. BS Dhanoa retired today after 41 years of stellar service. He was the chief of the IAF during the Balakot airstrikes.
Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, took over as 26th Chief of the Indian Air Force today.
He was commissioned into the fighter stream of IAF in Jun 1980. pic.twitter.com/9xH01idY1s
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) September 30, 2019
Air Marshal Bhadauria was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1980 and was awarded the coveted ‘Sword of Honour’ for standing first in the overall order of merit. During his career, he has held various positions in command, staff and instructional areas.
Speaking to the media after taking charge, IAF Chief Bhadauria said, “We were prepared then, we will be prepared next time. We will be ready to face any challenge, any threat.” Responding to questions about Pakistan reactivating terror camps destroyed in the Balakot airstrikes, he said, “We are aware of the reports and we will take the necessary action as and when required.”
Speaking to ANI, IAF Chief Bhadauria also remarked that the induction of Rafale jets will be a game-changer for the Indian Air Force. He was the chairman of the Indian negotiating team for the 36 Rafale combat aircraft deal as the then Deputy Chief of IAF. He said, “My first priority is the modernisation and indigenous capability in view of all budget constraints. Rafale will be a game-changer in our operational capability. It will give India an edge over Pakistan and China.”
Speaking on Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s threats of nuclear war, he said, “That is their understanding of nuclear aspects. We have our own understanding, our own analysis. We will be ready to face any challenge.”
Bhadauria has held several important positions in the past such as Commandant of the National Defence Academy, Senior Air Staff Officer at the Central Air Command and Deputy Chief of the Air Staff from January 2016 to 28 February 2017. He also served as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Southern Air Command from 1 March 2017. He took over as the chief of Bengaluru-based Training Command on 1 August 2018.