Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria took charge as the new chief of the Indian Air Force in New Delhi on Monday, September 30.
Bhadauria, who was the Vice Chief of Air Staff (VCAS), took over from his predecessor Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa who retired after serving in the IAF for over four decades. Bhadauria's term will last for two years.
Bhadauria is an alumnus of Pune's National Defence Academy. He has clocked more than 4,250 hours of flying and has flown 26 different types of fighter jets during his lifetime.
"Birender Singh Dhanoa retired with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial here. RKS Bhaduaria has taken charge as the new IAF chief today," said an IAF spokesperson.
Soon after the IAF chief took over, Bhadauria said IAF is prepared for any threat from Pakistan and is prepared to conduct Balakot-like airstrikes again. Speaking to the media after taking over as the IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said, "We were prepared then, we will be prepared next time. We will be ready to face any challenge, any threat."
#WATCH IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on being asked if IAF is better prepared to carry out another Balakot like strike in future: We were prepared then, we will be prepared next time. We will be ready to face any challenge, any threat. pic.twitter.com/gMv6HpxJns— ANI (@ANI) September 30, 2019
Air Chief Marshal Bhaduaria was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1980. Apart from his proficiency in various aircraft of the IAF, Bhadauria is also an Experimental Test Pilot, a Cat 'A' Qualified Flying Instructor and a Pilot Attack Instructor.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy where he won the coveted 'Sword of Honour' for standing first in the overall order of merit, he was commissioned into the IAF's fighter stream in June 1980.
Dhanoa was instrumental in planning and executing a successful strike against the terrorist camp near Balakote, which is located across the Line of Control, in Pakistan in February.
He had been commissioned in June 1978 as a fighter pilot.