Indian Air Force Chief arrives in Colombo

[TamilNet, Monday, 30 January 2006, 14:04 GMT]
The Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal S.P.Tyagi arrived Monday in Sri Lanka on a five-day official visit, Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) officials in Colombo said. During his stay in Sri Lanka, he is scheduled to meet SL President Mahinda Rajapakse, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapakse, Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Daya Sandagiri and the commanders of the three forces.

Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal S. P. Tyagi
Indian Air Force Chief Marshal S. P. Tyagi
The SLAF officials did not reveal details of the agenda of Tyagi's visit to Sri Lanka.

In December 2005, the Indian General Officer Commander-in-Chief of Southern Command Lt. Gen. B.S. Thakker, paid a visit to Sri Lanka. Thakker, also visited the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) front lines in Vavuniya.

Thakker's visit to Sri Lanka was followed by the visit by Vice Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Commander in Chief of the Indian Navys Eastern Naval Command between 12 Dec to 16 Dec 05.

The Indian Air Force was engaged in war with the Liberation Tigers for 32 months, from 29 July 1987 to 24 March 1990. Some 70,000 aircraft sorties were carried out by the IAF. The main aircraft types and squadrons involved in Sri Lanka were Antonov An-32s of No. 19 Squadron, Mi-8s of Nos 109 and 119 Helicopter Units and Mi-25s of No. 125 HU, according to IAF sources.

A number of Indian Air Force tactical transport and helicopter squadrons were used in support of Indian army and naval troops numbering at least 100,000 men, who were engaged in a counter-insurgency operations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam till the Indian forces were withdrawn from Sri Lanka.

The IAF, established in 1932 as the Royal Indian Air Force, is the fourth largest air force in the world. It operates seven Commands.

ACM Tyagi is one of the few officers to have commanded three Air Commands, the Allahabad-based Central, the Gandhinagar-based South Western and the Delhi-based Western Air Command of the IAF.

ACM Shashindra Pal Tyagi, born on March 14, 1945 and commissioned in the IAF on 31st December 1963, took over as the 20th Chief of Air Staff of the IAF from 31 December 2004.

The IAF chief was accompanied by his wife Mrs. Vandana Tyagi and two senior officers of the Indian Air Force.

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