Guwahati: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said that the world sees India as an eminent power and is expected to play a prominent role in shaping the global paradigm with regards to international security, trade and commerce, and environmental protection.

“India’s rise in the international order has many dimensions to it and draws heavily from the capabilities and valour of our armed forces,” Kovind said.

He was speaking at the Indian Air Force (IAF) station at Borjhar in Guwahati after presenting the President’s Standard to the 118 Helicopter Unit and the President’s Colours to the Air Defence College.

Kovind said that India has remained firmly committed to peace and it is determined to use all its might to protect its sovereignty.

“Whenever an occasion demanded, our brave men and women in uniform have ensured that the nation has dealt with the security challenges forcefully and effectively. Our armed forces, exemplified by the air warriors who stand before us, reflect our firm resolve to defend our nation,” Kovind said.

“I have just returned from a visit to Vietnam and Australia. I held discussions with the leaders of both these countries on different areas of mutual interest such as defence, international security, trade and culture. The deliberations made one thing amply clear that the world looks at India differently today,” Kovind added.

He said that he was happy to present the Standard to the 118 Helicopter Unit and the Colours to the Air Defence College.

“I am happy to present the Standards to the 118 Helicopter Unit and the Colours to the Air Defence College today at Air Force Station Guwahati, which is one of the premier airbases of the Indian Air Force. 118 Helicopter Unit or ‘Challengers’ was formed on November 22, 1971, in Chabua and was then equipped with Mi-8 aircraft. Whether flying the Mi-8 or the formidable Mi-17 helicopter today, the Unit has a remarkable operational record,” the President said.

“The Unit has also contributed towards humanitarian assistance and relief operations during natural disasters. The motto of the Unit is Aapatsu Mitram, which means - Friend in Distress, is indeed an apt one. I am confident that ‘Challengers’ will continue to excel and operate as a formidable force in the years to come.”

On the Air Defence College, the President said, “The Air Defence College has achieved significant milestones in Air Defence training in the past 60 years. The college provides professional training not only to officers of Indian Air Force but also to sister services and officers from friendly countries. The flying element of the College played a vital role during the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars. Since its establishment, the college has distinguished itself by adopting a futuristic approach towards training.

“The College truly lives up to its motto Rakshanepunyasya Shikhamahe, which means – Teach to Excel in Defence. In recognition of their outstanding performance, I am pleased to award Standards to 118 Helicopter Unit and Colours to Air Defence College. I compliment the personnel and families of the Units, past and present, for their devotion and service to the nation.”


Kovind further said that the IAF is a fine force known for its prowess and professionalism.

Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and senior officials of IAF were also present on the occasion.

IAF’s Sarang helicopter aerobatic team displayed an air show in the presence of the President.