- President’s Colour of the Indian Air Force
After the independence of India, high commanding military responsibilities were given to Parsis, proving the trust placed on them in an overwhelming Hindu country. Now, once more, a Parsi is appointed as the commander of the Indian Air Force (IAF): Air Marshal Fali Homi [*].
The Indian Air Force took off as a tiny fleet with four Westland Wapiti army co-operative by-planes, six RAF trained officers and 19 Hawai Sepoys. Today, it is the fourth largest Air Force in the world with a highly technical and specialised fighting force.
The head of the Indian Air Force, Chief of the Air Staff, is assisted by six officers: the Vice Chief of the Air Staff, the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, the Air Officer in Charge of Administration, the Air Officer in Charge of Personnel, the Air Officer in Charge of Maintenance, and the Inspector General of Flight Safety. The IAF currently operates seven Commands, each Command headed by an Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief in the rank of Air Marshal. The IAF is also setting up an Aerospace command. This command will have space technology like satellites available to them and is said to be utilised by all the three services of the Indian armed forces, alongside civilian purposes.
- Air Marshal Fali Homi
The official press release of Indian Army:
The Government today appointed Air Marshal Fali Homi Major, PVSM, AVSM, SC, VM, ADC, presently Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, as the next Chief of the Air Staff with effect from the afternoon of March 31, 2007. The present Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi, PVSM, AVSM, VM & Bar, ADC retires from service on March 31, 2007.
Born on May 29, 1947, Air Marshal Major was commissioned into the Air Force on December 31, 1967 as a helicopter pilot. During his long and distinguished service spanning little over 39 years, he has worked in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments. He has the distinction of having 7765 hours of flying experience to his credit. The Air officer commanded a helicopter unit, which took part in world’s highest battlefield operations in Siachen Glacier and commanded MI – 17 squadron during IPKF operations in Sri Lanka, for which he was decorated with Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) during this tenure.
Air Marshal Major was bestowed Shaurya Chakra award for undertaking a very dangerous and exacting rescue mission on October 14, 1992 at Timber Trail in Parwanoo, Himachal Pradesh, where he along with his crew, winched the eleven standard tourists out from the cable car, by hovering precariously close to the set of cables that ran above the cable car.
Besides being a Fellow of the National Defence College, New Delhi, and the Army War College, Mhow, he attended a variety of courses like Junior Commanders’ Course, Jungle and Snow Survival Course and Higher Command Course. He had the distinction of overseeing the tri-Service operations including the Tsunami operations during his tenure as Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Operations) at IDS Head Quarters. He was promoted as AOC-in-C, Eastern Air Command in September 2005. The Indo-US Joint Air Exercises at Kalaikunda in 2005 were successfully conducted under his leadership in Eastern Air Command.
He was awarded Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM) in January 2006 and Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM) in January 2002. He is one of the Honorary ADCs of the Supreme Commander.
Air Marshal Major is married to Mrs. Zareena and has one son and one daughter.