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Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari unveils new ensign of IAF at Air Force Day parade

The new IAF ensign unveiled by the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on the sidelines of the Annual Air Force Day Parade, in Prayagraj, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. A PTI Photo

PRAYAGRAJ (PTI): Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari has unveiled a new ensign of the Indian Air Force (IAF), replacing the existing one that was adopted more than seven decades back.

The IAF Chief released the new ensign at the 91st IAF Day celebrations on Sunday in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj.

In the new ensign, the IAF crest features in the top right corner.

It is a momentous day in the annals of the IAF's history, the force said on 'X'.

The unveiling of the new ensign by the IAF came over a year after the Navy made changes in its ensign shedding its colonial past.

The existing ensign was adopted in 1950, replacing the Royal Indian Air Force ensign that featured the Union Jack and the RIAF roundel (red, white and blue).

"As we start a new chapter in the history of IAF, let us all strive to be the change that we want to see," Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said in his Air Force Day address.

"Let us work together to take our air force to greater heights and let us use our commitment and collective capacity to achieve excellence in all that we do," he said.

The Indian Air Force was officially established on 8 October, 1932. In view of its professional efficiency and achievements during World War II, the force was bestowed with the prefix "Royal" in March 1945. So, it became the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF).

In 1950, the IAF dropped its "Royal" prefix and amended the ensign as India became a Republic.

The RIAF ensign consisted of the Union Jack in the upper left canton and the RIAF roundel (red, white and blue) on the fly side.

Post-Independence, the IAF ensign was created by replacing the Union Jack with the Indian tricolour and the RAF roundels with the IAF tricolour roundel in the lower right canton.

"A new lAF ensign has now been created to better reflect the values of the Indian Air Force. This reaffirmation will now be reflected by the inclusion of the Air Force Crest in the top right corner of the ensign, towards the fly side," the IAF said in a statement on Saturday.

The IAF crest has the national symbol, the Ashoka lion on the top with the words 'Satyameva Jayate' in Devanagari below it.

Below the Ashoka lion is a Himalayan eagle with its wings spread, denoting the fighting qualities of the IAF.

A ring in light blue colour encircles the Himalayan eagle with the words 'Bhartiya Vayu Sena.

The motto of the IAF -- 'touch the sky with the glory' is inscribed below Himalayan eagle in Devanagari.

The IAF motto has been taken from verse 24, Chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita and means "Radiant Thou Touchest Heaven" or in other words "touching the sky with glory".

The Air Force Day parade was held in Prayagraj.

The parade was traditionally held at the Hindon airbase near Delhi till 2021 before the event was taken outside the national capital. It was held in Chandigarh last year.

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