The Indian Air Force - ‘We Dare, We Care’
Review By :- Monica Arora
Date :- 22-02-2017
Publisher :- Akshay Media Pvt Ltd
Price :- -------
Pages :- 252
Sigh! Another coffee table book by the Indian Air Force, almost as if there is a quota for each (retiring) Chief. The IAF has recently issued an image-intensive coffee table book entitled ‘We Dare, We Care’, depicting the ‘technology-intensive force with real time response capability and strategic global reach.’ In his Foreword to the book, Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh elucidates: ‘This is the most propitious period for the IAF, as we resolutely define the security spectrum as a strategic aerospace power. Undoubtedly, the aerospace technologies provide exciting possibilities, but it is definitely the men-behind-the-machine and the leadership they espouse which will usher in a new era for the IAF…’
No doubt, the men behind the machines play a vital role in driving any formidable force to attain the peak of professionalism but a detailed perusal of the book reveals how the leadership role played by Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Chief of the Air Staff, has been very strongly lauded and heralded so much so, that it almost appears to be an ode to him! The photographs and production quality of the book are superlative and the stunning images obviously deserve a strong mention. For those aspiring to become a part of the Indian Air Force’s tradition, ‘We Dare, We Care’ offers a glimpse into the training and everyday life of the officers of the IAF and also inspires women to join the force and add to its esteem and history.
Commencing with the motto and core values of the Indian Air Force, the book dwells upon some important aircraft such as the C-130J Super Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, Pilatus PC-7 MkII, Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, which has just gone into service and many others which form an integral part of the Indian Air Force.
Lavishly illustrated, the book lauds some heroes of the Indian Air Force including Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, the first Param Vir Chakra awardee of the IAF for his gallantry in the 1971 war, besides the legendary (then Sqn Ldr) Arjan Singh, Sqn Ldr ‘Jumbo’ Majumdar, Sqn Ldr ‘Baba’ Mehar Singh, Sqn Ldr Surjit Singh, and generations later, Wg Cdr Rakesh Sharma, who was the first Indian in space, besides others.
Moreover, the coffee table book recounts the Indian Air Force’s memorable feats during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka in August 1987; Operation Cactus in Maldives in November 1988, Operation Safed Sagar at Siachen in May 1999 as well as Operation Black Thunder when the IAF’s Mi-17 helicopters assisted in combating terrorists during the ghastly attack at Mumbai’s iconic Taj Mahal Hotel in November 2008.
The fact that the Indian Air Force has a distinguished history of being an integral part of the UN peacekeeping forces as well as an active participant in international exercises namely Ex Red Flag Alaska 2016; Ex Desert Eagle – II 2016; Ex Jupiter Victor 2016; Ex Iron Fist 2016; Ex Live Wire 2015; Ex Indradhanush 2015; Ex Avia Indra 2014 and these have been included in the book. However, and surprisingly, the IAF’s major contribution in support of UN Forces in the Congo during 1961, when its Canberra bombers decimated the enemy Air Force does not feature at all although, recent helicopter operations get a page.
The book also showcases the biennial International Aero Space and Defence Exhibition Aero-India held at Yelahanka Air Force Station at Bangalore, whose 11th edition just got concluded.
This gorgeously produced, mammoth coffee table book has been conceived, to quote the Afterword, so as to: ‘encapsulate the IAF’s operational capabilities, milestones and journey since inception’ through vivid imagery. Ironically, it is not understood as to why the book is so “exclusive”? It was almost a Herculean task to procure even a single copy for review. After countless phone calls and pulling the vital “strings” right to the top, Homeland Warriors finally managed to “borrow” one elusive copy of the book (to be duly returned once the review was over.) Surely, the Indian Air Force needs to share its glories with the aam aadmi and not confine its greatness within its own headquarters…