By Sayan Chatterjee
New Delhi: Air Marshal Harjit Singh Arora AVSM ADC took over as Vice Chief of the Air Staff this morning. Air Marshal Harjit Singh, was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a fighter pilot in December 1981. He has a rich and diverse experience of accident free operational flying which includes MiG 21, MiG 29 and other aircraft in IAF inventory, including helicopters.
The vice chief of the Air Staff is a graduate of tactics and air combat development establishment, Defence Service Staff College and National Defence College. He holds a Master of Science in defence studies and a Master of Philosophy in Defence and Strategic Studies.
Prior to this, he has commanded a MiG 21 Sqn in the South Western sector and was later Commander of Air Defence Direction Centre in the same sector. He went on to command a premier MiG 29 Base and as an Air Vice Marshal he was Air Defence Commander at Headquarter Western Air Command and Eastern Air Command. As an Air Marshal, he has held the appointments of Director General (Inspection and Safety) and Director General Air (Operations) at Air HQ. Before taking over as Vice Chief of the Air Staff, he was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Air Command.
Air Marshal has been directing staff at ‘Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment’ and has been a flying inspector in the ‘Directorate of Air Staff Inspection’.
He was Defence Attaché in the Embassy of India, Bangkok, Thailand from 2006 to 2009. For his distinguished service, Air Marshal Arora was awarded ‘Ati Vishisht Seva Medal’ by the President of India on 26 January 2011. He was appointed as Honorary Air Force ADC to the Honorable President of India.
( The writer is a Delhi-based independent contributor to print and online publications )