Strong deterrence is required against those who want to thwart country’s progress, Pranab says

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CHENNAI: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said a strong deterrence is required against those who want to thwart the progress, prosperity and security of the country.

Speaking after awarding the prestigious President's Standard and Colors to 125 Helicopter Squadron and Mechanical Training Institute at the Air Force Station in Tambaram here, the President said the country is a responsible and emerging power in a multipolar and multilateral world.

Apart from providing deterrence against inimical entities, the armed forces have been at the forefront of providing succor to citizens during natural calamities. The operations by the Indian Air Force during floods in Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir valley and in Tamil Nadu deserved special mention and would always be remembered by the nation, he said.

The Indian Air Force has evolved into a technologically advanced entity while safeguarding the sovereignty of the nation. The resilience and tenacity displayed by the air warriors is worth of emulation by the youth of the country, he said.

The 125 Helicopter Squadron, called as Gladiators, since its formation in November 1983 has enhanced its operational capability over the years. The squadron has earned accolades for its valour and strike capabilities when deployed internally as well as abroad. When deployed under the UN Flag in Sierra Leone, the Gladiators were instrumental in securing the release of 232 captured Indian Army personnel.

In January last year the Squadron played a stellar role in confining the terrorists to a restricted area during the terror attack on Air Force Station Pathankot, he said.

The Mechanical Training Institute (MTI) at Tambaram Air Force station is the oldest technical training institute of the IAF. The institute had undergone changes in nomenclature as well as locations over the year and was rechristened as MTI in 1980.

The unit imparts fundamental technical training in aircraft maintenance and servicing to the young recruits in mechanical aviation trades. The institute strives to lay the foundation for continuous development of technical competence in mechanical aviation trades, Pranab said.

He complimented the personnel and families of the units that received the awards, whose commitment and professionalism have stood our nation in good stead.

An air show was held as part of the award presentation ceremony. Surya Kiran aircraft made phoenix and yankee formations, enthralling people.

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