President Pranab Mukherjee, the supreme commander of Indian defence forces, presented colours to two units of the Indian Air Force -- Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), New Delhi, and 3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) in Chandigarh on Friday.
Air Commodore CK Ranjan, Air Officer Commanding (AOC), AFCME, and Air Commodore Suresh Singh, AOC, 3 BRD, received colours on behalf of their respective units.
Group Captain Sanjeev Sinha led the parade during the ceremony.
The presentation of colours by the president is a great honour in recognition of the services rendered by a unit or regiment to the nation, both during the war and peace.
Punjab governor and UT administrator Shivraj Patil, Haryana governor Jagannath Pahadia, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne were also present on the occasion.
The president also released first day cover for the two units.
After the ceremony, air warriors led by Corporal Ravinder Sehrawat showcased rifle drill skills. Women personnel showcased skydiving.
The primary role of AFCME, founded in 1940, is to provide comprehensive medical assessment of aircrew of the armed forces, paramilitary services and civil aircrew. It became the first unit in the Armed Forces Medical Services to qualify for the ISO 9001:2000 certification in October 2005, which was later upgraded to ISO 9001:2008 in 2010.
Chandigarh-based 3 BRD has completed fifty glorious years of service to the nation. Raised on February 1, 1962, the depot has discharged its duty as a major repair and maintenance support unit. It is presently involved in the induction of state-of-the-art Mi-17 V5 helicopters and also has been designated as its overhaul agency. The depot is ISO 9001:2008 accredited.
Selection for awarding colours is based on past record during peace as well as hostilities. Colours are awarded to non-flying formations and standards are awarded to operational units.
Esprit de corps
The origin of colours and standards can be traced back to the earliest days of history and find mention in the war epics of India, Egypt, Greece and Rome. They used to serve two purposes - one, to distinguish various tribes, families and races, and the other, as a rallying point in battle.
They also helped in identification of a friend from foe. With the passage of time, colours assumed a far greater significance in terms of promoting esprit de corps -- loyalty and unity - that helped inculcate pride and discipline.