| New Delhi, India | 18 Dec 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, a Kargil war veteran and first-rate fighter pilot, will replace Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha as the next Indian Air Force Chief (IAF) effective 31 Dec 2016.
This is a second major appointment of a Sikh to a top position after the recent announcement that Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar will take office as the next Chief Justice of India (CJI) on 4 Jan 2017.
Born in Punjab’s SAS Nagar, Mohali district, Air Marshal Dhanoa comes from a family of war veterans, according to one media report.
His grandfather Capt Sant Singh was with the British Indian Army and fought in the World War-II against the Japanese. His father, Sarayan Singh, served as the Chief Secretary to the Government of Punjab during the 1980s and later served as advisor to the state governor.
Dhanoa was commissioned in the IAF in June 1978 as a fighter pilot. He is an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College, the National Defence Academy and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.
Air Marshal Dhanoa is a qualified flying instructor and has flown various types of fighter aircraft in his career. During the Kargil Operations, he commanded a fighter squadron and himself flew numerous night strike missions in the mountainous terrain, according to a Ministry of Defence statement released when he ws appointed as vice chief in 2015.
Prior to being appointed as Vice Chief of the Air Staff, the Air Marshal was the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the South Western Air Command.
He is married to Mrs. Kamalpreet and they have a son Jasman who is pursuing law, according to the same statement.
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