Ace fighter pilot Vivek Ram Chaudhari took over as the Chief of the Air Staff from Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria on September 30, 2021. Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari was also in charge of the Ladakh Sector during the peak of the crisis with China.
The Central Government on September 21, 2021, had appointed Air Marshal VR Chaudhari as the next Chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Along with Chaudhari, various other new appointments were also made in the Indian Air Force. It includes the new Vice Chief of IAF as well as the next Chief of Western Command.
VR Chaudhari was previously the Vice Chief of Air Staff and has been an ace MiG-29 Pilot expert in major MiG-29 fighter aircraft. In a normal procedure, the new Service Chiefs are announced 2-3 months before in order to give time for the Chief designate to get familiar with the new role.
Delhi: Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari takes charge as the Chief of Air Staff, succeeds Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria who retires today. pic.twitter.com/1H8rs13X6w
New appointments in IAF
Chief of Western Air Command-
Air Marshal Amit Dev has been appointed as the next Chief of Western Air Command. Presently, he is the chief of Eastern Air Command.
Air Marshal Amit Dev has been appointed as the next chief of Western Air Command. He is presently the chief of Eastern Air Command. pic.twitter.com/bnXYinahHU
Chief of Integrated Defence Staff-
Air Marshal Balabhadra Radha Krishna has been appointed as new Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Air Marshal Balabhadra Radha Krishna has been appointed as the new Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee pic.twitter.com/6284M2lZfe — ANI (@ANI) September 24, 2021
Vice Chief of Indian Air Force-
Air Marshal Sandeep Singh has been appointed as the next Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force. Singh will succeed AR Marshal V R Chaudhari who will take over as the Chief of Air Staff on September 30.
Air Marshal Sandeep Singh has been appointed as the next Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force. He will be succeeding Air Marshal VR Chaudhari who will take over as Chief of Air Staff on September 30 pic.twitter.com/lcLPcP36iq — ANI (@ANI) September 24, 2021
Who is Air Marshal VR Chaudhari?
• On December 29, 1982, Chaudhari was commissioned into the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force as a fighter pilot and served nearly 39 years.
• In his decades-long career, Chaudhari has flown a wide variety of fighter and trainer aircraft with a flying experience of more than 3,800 hours.
• From August 1, 2020, VR Chaudhari was the Chief of the Western Air Command before taking over the present appointment as the Vice Chief of Air Staff on July 1, 2021.
• Chaudhari is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA) and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.
• As an Air Vice Marshal, Chaudhari has been Deputy Commandant, Air Force Academy; Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers); Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Air Defence).
• Chaudhari has also held significant appointments of Deputy Chief of Air Staff at the Air Headquarters. He was also the Senior Air Staff officer at the Eastern Air Command.
Air Marshal VR Chaudhari: Honours and medals
In the span of his decades-long career, Chaudhari has been honoured with-
1. Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM)
2. Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM)
3. Vayu Sena Medal
VR Chaudhari appointed as next Chief of IAF: What can be the challenges?
The appointment of VR Chaudhari as IAF Chief comes at a time when the Indian Air Force has been expanding its fleet and has been facing tough challenges on the eastern and the western borders.
While Pakistan has always been a threat to the country, the recent developments with China have also become a grave concern for India.
Amid India’s Ladakh stand-off with China, the Indian Air Force had deployed its frontline fighter jets such as Sukhoi 30 MKI, Mirage 2000 aircraft and Jaguar in the key air bases in Eastern Ladakh and the near the Line of Control (LOC).
New appointments on way for Indian Navy and Army
The appointment of VR Chaudhari is the beginning of the change current line of Service Chiefs. The Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh is set to retire at the end of November 2021 while Army Chief Manoj Naravane is in service till April 2022.